Amal Adel Abdrabo

Oumou Dilly Postdoc Fellow (01.09.2017-28.02.2018)

Amal Abdrabo

Amal Adel Abdrabo, lecturer in Sociology and anthropology at Alexandria University in Egypt, joins the Center for African Studies at Basel University in Switzerland on a six-month Oumou Dilly postdoc fellowship (2017-2018). She is a graduate of Alexandria University in Egypt and earned her first MA in 2011 and her PhD in January 2017. Her first MA degree, in 2011, was about "Social Movements and Human Rights: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Anti-globalization Discourse in the Egyptian Society between 2001 to 2010". She is a former fellow of Building the Next Generation Fellowship- BNGS at the American University in Cairo for two years (2014-2016) where she worked on a project in anthropology dealing with Palestinian Refugees in Egypt entitled "We live like Khayalat (scarecrows): An ethnography of a Palestinian village in Egypt." Recently, she earned her PhD degree in sociology from the faculty of Arts, Alexandria University where she conducted an evaluation study of four Knowledge Precincts to explore the social dimensions of knowledge-based development policies in Egypt. Her doctorate thesis entitled "Social Dimensions of Knowledge-based Development in Egypt: an Evaluation study of a Sample of Knowledge Precincts." Now, she is a visiting scholar at the Center for African Studies at Basel University, Switzerland.

Fields of Specialization in Research

Amal is committed to make research relevant to the current development challenges that face different African countries. Her research interests cover qualitative research methods, development studies, politics of knowledge, urban sociology, anthropology of development, and migration studies. Amal published and co-authored a lot of academic papers covering the previously mentioned fields of research in both Arabic and English. She has a special interest in the recent developmental trends in Egypt and asks what understanding of knowledge and its social preconditions is introduced by the Egyptian government in order to ascertain whether that understanding is likely to promote or undermine the commitment to transforming Egypt into a knowledge-based society. Her current research project entitled "Lost in Translation; Egypt's Developmental Policies and Social (In)justice". She believes that researchers need to go to the field armed with different theoretical and conceptual perspectives but with keeping in mind the reflexivity of the social sciences research based on what the reality reveals to us. Africa is a very rich continent not just by its natural resources, but more importantly by its human capital of genuine Africans who work in different domains to make the best of their continent. Within academia, it is our role as scholars to criticize the dominant development paradigms that are adopted by different international actors; not to refuse, but to examine them within the African reality in order to achieve the maximum utilization and maybe reach different African-knowledge-based societies for the coming generations.

Research Projects
  • "Letters to the Governor; death, mobility, and claims of the city." A running project with ZMO Zentrum Moderner Orient- Berlin. Based on Sayed Aweys's two books: the first is "Cries of the Silents: the phenomenon of writing on vehicle structures in modern Egyptian society." His other book is: "One of the features of modern Egyptian society; the phenomenon of sending messages to the shrine of Imam Shafi'i", the project will try to explore two field sites where people work on the creation of new participatory spaces. The first site is shrines where people go ask things to be done for them from dead people, writing letters to them that contain complaints against what is going with them in life. The second space of participation is at the back of minibuses that are owned by citizens (bus drivers) and do not belong to the public transportations busses. Cars represent mobility, movement, and light whereas Tombs and Shrines represent death, serenity, silence, and humbleness. The reason behind choosing these two different sites in the city of Alexandria is to give new perspectives regarding uncanny ways people use to claim a space within their city where they can participate actively or at least express their complaints without being punished or detained. That could generate new theoretical perspectives and construct knowledge derived from exploring the temporal versus the permanent in regard of urban spaces and of the type of participatory activities in modern Egypt within the context of recent political, cultural, and social transformations taking place recently.
  • "Geopolitics of the displaced: Memory, Conflicts, and Disasters." Edited by Clara Rachel Eybalin Casséus, Amal Adel Abdrabo, and Stevens Aguto Odongoh. (Forthcoming). This collective work is intended to fill a gap in the study of political geographies of urbanism, conflict management and global displacements. It examines geography of human communities destabilized across the global North/South spectrum. Great migrations occur across space, at the same time that the significance of space has been eclipsed by environmental catastrophes along with complex conflicts. While the three contributors are each originally trained in different disciplines - Sociology Geography, and Anthropology – their current research interests in the importance of localizing memory to place and conflicts brought this collaboration to fruition.
  • "History Will Speak; North Africa." The idea of #HistoryWillSpeak is to show using a film series other ways people tried to organize the human life. The idea is not to talk about Africa in positive or negative, but in real and to learn from it. Learn from Africa's concepts of unity, community empowerment, self-sacrifice, and gender equality that were all major features of the socialist African struggles in particular. And, learn from the successful nationalist efforts to improve education, health care and social cohesion. Time Frame Estimate: One semester.  Alba Llop Gironés (University of Copenhagen) and Amal Adel Abdrabo (Basel University). Alba Llop-Gironés: Visiting research scholar, Economics Department, University of Copenhagen. Ph.D. candidate, Health Inequalities Research Group (GREDS-EMCONET), Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

  • Egypt's Knowledge-Based Development: Opportunities, Challenges, and Future Possibilities. In: Knowledge-Based Urban Development in the Middle East. Editor: Ali A. Alraouf. IGI Global - Disseminator of Knowledge. Pennsylvania, USA. (Forthcoming). (In English)
  • Clara Rachel Eybalin Casseus , Amal Adel Abdrabo , and Stevens Aguto Odongoh. "Displacement and the Creation of in/visible Boundaries: Memory beyond Borders and Citizenship." An abstract presented to the 6th bi-annual PACSA meeting, 28-30 August 2017, Amsterdam. (In English).
  • Amal Abdrabo. "Fostering Knowledge-based Development in Africa; the case of Egypt". Accepted paper in: The 7th European Conference on African Studies ECAS 2017 with the theme: Urban Africa -Urban Africans: New encounters of the rural and the urban. Panel: (A 14) Smart Cities as National and Regional Growth Poles in Africa. Basel University- Switzerland, 29th June-1st July, 2017. (In English). 
  • Amal Abdrabo. "Killing Memory or Other Meanings of Steadfastness; An Ethnography of a Palestinian Village in Egypt". Accepted paper at the 3rd ACSS conference, The Arab Council for the Social Sciences Third Conference- “State, Sovereignty and Social Space in the Arab Region: Emerging Historical and Theoretical Approaches”, Beirut, March 10-12, 2017.  (In English)
  • Amal Abdrabo and Aly Galaby. "The Egyptian Knowledge Precincts; Opportunities, Challenges, and Future Possibilities".  In  the Sixth International Conference on ICT in our lives "Information Systems in a Connected World"- Faculty of Commerce, Alexandria University- Alexandria, Egypt- December 17th- 19th, 2016.  (In Arabic with English abstract)
  • Amal Abdrabo and Aly Galaby. "Knowledge-based Development as an Alternative Development strategy: An Analysis of Knowledge Precincts’ Discourse in Egypt." In: First Intellectual Forum (Dilemma of development in contemporary Egyptian reality: values ​​model) - Institute of National Planning, Cairo, Egypt, on 29-30 April, 2013. (In Arabic).
  • Amal Abdrabo and Aly Galaby. "New Social Movements and Human Rights: A Critical Analysis of Anti-globalization Movements' Discourse in Egypt." In: The Arab Council for the Social Sciences inaugural International Conference (Arab Transformations: Interrogating the Social Sciences). Beirut, Lebanon, on March 19-20, 2013. (In Arabic, English abstract).
  • Amal Abdrabo and Aly Galaby. "Knowledge Precincts and Knowledge-based Urban Development: a Literature Review and Vision for Egypt." In: Second International Conference on ICT (How can information and communications technologies improve the life of citizens?). Department of Information Systems and Computers, Faculty of Commerce, Alexandria University. December 22nd, 23rd and 24th 2012. (English abstract)
  • Amal Abdrabo. "Theoretical and Methodological Foundations of Critical Discourse Analysis and its uses in Sociological Research." In book: Critical school in The Egyptian Sociology; Dedicated Studies to Prof. Samir Naim Ahmed. (Cairo: Humanities Publishing House, 2012). (In Arabic).
  • Stevens Aguto Odongoh and Amal Abdrabo "Crossing Invisible Boundaries and Re-gaining Home: Comparing the Idea of Imagined Home and Belonging between Post-conflict Uganda-South Sudan Acholi group and Palestinian Refugees in Egypt". (In English- Forthcoming).