Sociologist recalls academic crackdown in Cairo

Friday, April 19, 2019 - 09:50 in Psychology & Sociology

It was a straightforward proposal and seemingly benign research topic. In 2016, as a newly tenured associate professor of sociology at the American University in Cairo (AUC), Amy Austin Holmes — now a visiting scholar at the Weatherhead Center — was thrilled to receive a grant to analyze the impact of the new, restrictive NGO law on civil society across Egypt, whose government had become increasingly autocratic under the rule of military strongman President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. At the time, she had no reason to believe her work was being tracked by state intelligence. Each of her five associates would study a different group or region of the country, with her own focus being the Nubians in the south. She was drawn to the culture and history of the Nubians because of their similarities to Kurds, another group that was central to her scholarship. Descendants from an ancient civilization in the Sudan,...

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