September 7th, 2012
August 11th, 2012
Kathleen Saville, Senior Instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Composition, had two nature-inspired pieces accepted for publication by naturewriting.com, an online magazine for readers and writers of nature writing. On Racette Raccoon Stopping By the Bird Feeder and Night is Familiar are now available at the link above.
June 16th, 2012
Three students in the RHET 341 Travel Writing course of Kathleen Saville (Senior Instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Composition) were recently published in the June issue of Egypt Today. Tasnim Abdelrahman, Salma Zakaria, and Hanna Al Amrawi were winners of a writing contest specially up for Saville’s RHET 341 Travel Writing course. Their essays on Alexandria can be viewed online at www.egypttoday.com or found on the newsstands.
May 19th, 2012
December 23rd, 2009
Editor: Graham Harman,
Associate Vice Provost for Research
2010 AUC Research Conference
The 2010 AUC Research Conference is now open to all faculty and graduate students of all Egyptian Educational Institutions (Universities and Research Institutes). The Conference will be held April 10 to 12, 2010 on the AUC New Cairo Campus. Please send all submissions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadlines are as follows:
STAGE I: Abstracts (maximum 300 words) should be submitted for roundtables, panels, and workshops no later than February 27, 2010.
STAGE II: The organizing committee will select the most appropriate proposals and inform the respective coordinators by March 6, 2010.
STAGE III: Coordinators of the selected proposals will be expected to submit abstracts and/or papers for their respective roundtable, panels, or workshops no later than March 27, 2010.
For more information please click this link for the Conference Website.
If you have any questions please contact the Chair of the Conference Committee, Dr. Graham Harman at email@example.com.
For this week’s profile we turn to Professor Nelly Hanna, a distinguished Middle Eastern historian in our Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations (ARIC). Nelly has studied an impressive variety of topics in her scholarly work, and has been a member of our faculty since 1991. Moreover, we can proudly claim Nelly not just as a scholar but also as an alumna, since she received both her B.A. and M.A. degrees from the American University in Cairo. She is the 2004 winner of the AUC Excellence in Research and Creative Endeavors Award, and currently serves as Chair of the Department of ARIC.
Q: The first thing that stands out about your historical work is its great versatility. Along with discussions of economics and family issues, you have also published on the history of sugar, coffee, textiles, and construction work, to name just a few of your topics. What led you to study such a variety of different themes?
A: I touched on many subjects, but essentially I am interested (at least now) in economic history. It is at the basis of many other things, and can explain important dimensions in society, culture. So researching coffee, sugar and textiles, was part of this broader interest in the economy, but here I must clarify, I mean economy in the broader sense that incorporates people, individuals, society, not graphs and figures or statistics.
Q: Many readers of the Bulletin are inexperienced with archival work, myself included. When I see one of your article titles, such as “Coffee and Coffee Merchants in Cairo, 1580-1630,” the first thing I wonder is: how many records are available about this? Is it easy to find enough information to write such detailed studies about a distant period?
A: Easy is not the right word. There are very rich archives: court registers that record the daily dealings of the population in front of the qadi, including transactions of various kinds, marriage contracts, divorces, commercial ventures, inheritances, litigation and many more subjects. There is a lot on merchants, but also on others.What this means is that you need to go through a lot of material to get to the subject that you are researching. So it is possible but it is a lot of work.
Q: Your first book was on the Cairo neighborhood of Bulaq during the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. When we walk through the area today, it might be hard to imagine such a glorious past for Bulaq. Tell us, if you would, what makes the history of the neighborhood so interesting.
A: When I did the work on Bulaq, I was often in the area visiting buildings, markets. I was astonished to find that the people there had ties to this district for generations and were therefore quite attached it. I was also surprised to find the streets and alleys, for the most part, to be identical to the map of Bulaq that the Napleonic expedition had drawn in 1800, even had the same names. In short, a high level of continuity, which may have eroded since my research there in the 80s. Essentially for several centuries this was the port of Cairo for goods coming from the Mediterranean, so it was a pretty important place.
Q: Your second book also has an interesting title— Construction Work in Ottoman Cairo.
A: This is a short work, it is really about the guilds involved in construction, who did private jobs, but who were also involved in the large scale state projects.
Q: You have also written about the French expedition to Egypt during the Ottoman period. What is the most lasting French influence on Egypt today? (From the Napoleonic period, I mean.)
A: French culture had quite an impact: when French political influence decreased after the Napoleonic era, French was still the language of the elite. French-speaking schools were opened in the mid-19th century.
Q: You have written a lot about the textile industry in Egypt. But from a layperson’s perspective, it often seems that this industry is minimal in Egypt these days. It seems as though Egyptian cotton is sold abroad rather than being processed into textiles in Egypt itself. Is that true? And if so, when and why did the textile industry in Egypt start to decline?
A: The textile industry, especially linen, was the most important industry for many many centuries. Textile workers produced an enormous variety of cloth (before 1800) much of which was exported to Ottoman and European markets. The textile industry faced major crises in the 19th century: the switch to exporting raw material and importing English cloth was one of the factors; the monoculture in cotton, developed also in the 19th century: these are elements of a colonial economy.
Q: Here’s another of your many interesting article titles: “Sources for the Study of Slave Women and Concubines in Ottoman Egypt.” They kept detailed records of this?
A: As I said, the records we have are so rich you can find the most amazing subjects.
Q: Moving to a more general question, did you have any “hero” historians during your student years? Or at least any scholars whose work you adopted as a model?
A: Sure, André Raymond (French historian on the Ottoman Arab world). He was my advisor for my Doctorat D’État in France and has since then remained a friend and a model.
Q: What is the biggest scholarly controversy in your field right now, and what do you think of it?
A: The most important controversies are about approaches: should one write history as a broad meganarrative? should one write microhistory? Is culture the moving force in history? is the economy the moving force? They are many and complex, often ideologies are the forces that move them.
Q: You’ve invested so much energy in studying the past of Cairo. Are you optimistic about the future of the city? What will be the biggest dangers over the next century?
A: I cannot say I am optimistic as long as growth and development are haphazard and guided mainly by business concerns.
(as reported by the faculty members)
David Blanks, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History was selected as Executive Secretary of the African Network in Global History/Réseau Africain d’Histoire Mondiale.
Graham Harman, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Associate Vice Provost for Research, is the subject of a review article in the December 16 issue of the French journal Actu Philosophia. “Graham Harman, Prince of Networks. Bruno Latour, cheval de Troie métaphysique,” by Olivier Surel. http://actu-philosophia.com/spip.php?article181
FACULTY RESEARCH BY SCHOOL
(as reported by the faculty members)
In this issue of the Bulletin, we have:
1 journal article
2 invited lectures
3 conference presentations
Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS)
David Blanks, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History
•Conference presentation: “The African University in a World Historical Context,” conference on African and Global History, University of Ilorin, Nigeria. December 9-11, 2009.
Heather Browne, Writing Instructor, Department of Rhetoric and Composition
•Conference presentation: “Overcoming Foreign Aid Backlash: Supporting Community Schools to Promote Democratization” at the Northeastern Political Science Association annual meeting held in Philadelphia, PA, November 19-21, 2009.
•Conference presentation: “The Potential of Facebook as a Channel of Civic Engagement in Egypt” at the Middle East Studies Association annual meeting held in Boston, MA, November 21-24, 2009.
Kathleen Saville, Senior Writing Instructor, Department of Rhetoric and Composition
• Book. The Advanced English Handbook: Reading, Writing, Listening. Shabka, Margaret and Kathleen Saville. (Cairo: Anglo Engyptian Bookshop, 2009) Note: this is the companion book to The Advanced English Handbook: Structure and Form. (Cairo: Anglo Egyptian Bookshop, 2008.)
Margaret Shabka, Senior Writing Instructor, Department of Rhetoric and Composition
• Book. The Advanced English Handbook: Reading, Writing, Listening. Shabka, Margaret and Kathleen Saville. (Cairo: Anglo Engyptian Bookshop, 2009) Note: this is the companion book to The Advanced English Handbook: Structure and Form (Cairo: Anglo Egyptian Bookshop, 2008)
Dan Tschirgi, Professor of Political Science
• Book. Origins of U.S. Involvement in the Modern Middle East Problem: U.S.-Israeli Relations Over Arab Lands Occupied in the June War, 1967-1969. (Saarbrücken: VDM Publishers, 2010.)
• Invited lectures, two lectures to be given at the Leonard Davis Institute of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem during the week of January 17, 2010.
School of Business (SoB)
Hamed M. Shamma, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Heikal Department of Management
•Journal article, “Customer and Non-customer Perspectives for Examining Corporate Reputation,” Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 18, No. 5, pp. 326-337.
December 23rd, 2009
Faculty Bulletin Editor: Graham Harman, Associate Vice Provost for Research Editorial Assistant: Samah Abdel-Geleel, Graduate Studies and Faculty Research Coordinator LETTER FROM THE EDITOR We are grateful to all those who wrote to express their appreciation for the new design of the Faculty Bulletin. Please keep sending your publications and other news to Samah at firstname.lastname@example.org. For general suggestions, or to nominate someone to be the subject of a faculty profile, please contact Dr. Harman at email@example.com. But the Bulletin is just one piece of the puzzle as we try to make faculty research more internally prominent within the AUC community. If you have ever been curious about the work of your AUC colleagues, this year is a good time to ask them about it. Even if your Department has become preoccupied with other business, try to make some this year for faculty to present their research. If you have not been a regular attendee of the plays, concerts, and art shows sponsored by our Department of Performing and Visual Arts— try it, and you'll like it. In addition, further efforts are underway to establish a more official faculty lecture series (details forthcoming). At this time I would especially encourage AUC faculty members who have not regularly submitted their research activities to the Bulletin to begin to do so. In building a new research culture at AUC, mutual visibility is one of our most important tools. Ideally, I would like to see every School at AUC have some contributions in every issue of the Bulletin. FACULTY PROFILE For this week's profile, we have a story of "local boy makes good": Adham Ramadan, Associate Professor of Chemistry. Adham is a 1991 graduate of AUC, and was the winner of the President's Cup for the highest overall GPA in his graduating class. Thereafter he traveled to England, where he earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at Cambridge University. In 2003 he returned to AUC as a member of the Department of Chemistry; his former advisor, our own Professor Jehane Regai, is now his colleague and research collaborator. Among Adham's areas of expertise are the handling of hazardous wastes and the industrial applications of titanium and zirconium (which he explains very clearly in the interview below). A popular and effective teacher, he received the 2008 AUC Excellence in Teaching Award for the Core Curriculum. He is also unusually well liked as a colleague on campus, with a deserved reputation as a hard worker and an optimistic and upbeat person. Finally, I would like to add that he is a hard-working member of AUC's Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (IRB). In the following interview we asked Adham about his history at AUC and the exact details of his chemical research. Q: It would be safe to say that you are a great success story of AUC undergraduate education. You received your B.S. degree from our University in 1991, and even won the President's Cup as the highest-ranking member of your graduating class. Later you flourished at Cambridge University and elsewhere in Europe, and surely could have found work at an elite institution abroad. Could you tell us what drew you back to AUC? A: Being at AUC today is a bit of a coincidence. As I was finishing my postgraduate studies at Cambridge, I was considering a professional technical career, in industry, consulting etc., and not in academia. After obtaining my PhD, I decided to return to Egypt for while, and just after my return, some family circumstances necessitated that I stay in Egypt. While working professionally, I realized that I did miss teaching and research. It was only normal then to turn to AUC and explore possibilities, as I had kept in contact with my professors. I ended up being involved in some teaching and research activities on a part time basis while still working professionally. The decision to work full time in academia only came years later, in 2003, as I joined the Chemistry Department. Q: As an AUC student you minored in Computer Science. Have you stayed up to date with the latest computing technology? And is it somehow especially central to your research in chemistry? A: My minor in computer science primarily entailed programming and database structures. It proved very useful during the course of my postgraduate studies, and I spent about 10 months of my PhD work carrying out programming for the control of equipment that I built. Later on, database structures proved very useful in my professional work, even though I was not carrying out programming myself. Currently in research, I believe that the basic skills of problem analysis and solution design, which I acquired while programming, significantly assist me in experimental design. Q: Presumably you always had interests and skills in the sciences. But what makes a person veer toward chemistry as opposed to biology or physics? In your opinion are there certain personality types that are drawn toward each of these fields, or is it more a matter of random chance– such as liking one particular class as a student? A: I am not sure if we can profile personalities as “physicists”, “biologists” or “chemists”, but looking at Chemistry as a discipline, one would realize it does include aspects of Physics, as well a Biology: physical chemistry on the one hand, biochemistry on the other. Sometimes this mixture might appear daunting to some: those who might not have an aptitude or liking for mathematical calculations and applications would be discouraged by physical chemistry, while others, with little interest in biological systems, might not be very excited by biochemistry. Generally, I believe being a “chemist”, and enjoying it, is about reaching a state of mind where fundamental concepts are clear and at hand’s reach for understanding observations, and making predictions. Personally, Chemistry was not my favourite science subject in high school, as it was taught in a manner which was primarily factual, and not conceptual enough. It was only during my first year at university, and an inspirational course with Dr. Pakinam Askalani, that I realized what Chemistry was truly about. Q: Many of your former AUC professors are now your colleagues and personal friends. How difficult is it to adjust to people when the nature of your relations with them changes so greatly? A: In my case, it was not difficult at all. As a student, my relation with my Chemistry professors was excellent, and they provided valuable advice and support when I was deciding on my postgraduate studies. Contact continued during my studies, and later when I returned to Egypt. After joining the Department in 2003, the first few minutes of the first departmental meeting felt a bit odd to me, as I was not sure how things would go. However, within minutes, I felt very much at home. The environment was, and still continues to be, a very nurturing, encouraging and supportive one, and I do cherish this tremendously. I am of course particularly indebted to Dr. Jehane Ragai, who was my undergraduate supervisor, and who has been a source of inspiration for me over the years. Q: Other than the new campus, what are some of the biggest differences between AUC today and the AUC you remember as a student? A: Of course, AUC in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s was a smaller institution. For example, one Department of Science included all the different science programs as units, all of them housed in the Science Building together with the Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science Departments. Other than size, I believe that AUC today offers far more opportunities to students with regards to disciplines of study, exchange programs, and student activities. In addition, student services are noticeably more extensive. The teaching/learning environment in class, both in terms of hardware and equipment, as well as pedagogies, has also evolved significantly. Q: In 2008 you won the AUC Excellence in Teaching Award for the Core Curriculum. Could you share some of your thoughts about teaching methods and strategies? A: I believe that the primary role of a teacher is to assist students in becoming independent learners. This can be achieved by a variety of pedagogies which focus on active learning and learning from peers. In addition, putting an emphasis on the interdisciplinarity of subject matters, as well as the complementarity between teaching/learning on one hand and research on the other can be very useful in developing students’ interest in the subject matter at hand. Of course, in the technological age we are in, information technologies offer valuable tools and resources for drawing students into the learning process, and retaining their interest in it. Q: Just a quick personal question… Anyone meeting you on campus probably notices that you seem unusually friendly, optimistic, and helpful in your approach to work. Don't you ever have grumpy days when it's hard to work? It doesn't seem like it! A: I do have my moments like everyone else. However I realized a while back that they just consume energy, and are not very productive…. So I do try and keep “them” under control as much as possible. Q: Let's turn now to your research. Chemistry is one of those fields that can be a bit intimidating for the non-specialist, but perhaps you can explain your work in terms understandable to everyone. The best place to start might be with your experience in studying hazardous waste management, since everyone understands that the issue is an important one. How did you become interested in this topic? And why did you go specifically to Denmark and Spain to pursue it? A: My involvement with hazardous substances and wastes management started when I was working at the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, and I have been involved in this field ever since. It is a field of significant environmental impact, and it is an interdisciplinary field where management systems, together with fundamental science, primarily chemistry, strongly interrelate. The “study” visits to Denmark and later on Spain, came within the context of different initiatives I was involved in, and primarily entailed capacity building in different aspects of the field. Q: What is the most hazardous material produced or used at AUC, and how do we make sure to dispose of it safely? A: The hazards of materials can differ significantly, and it is quite difficult to specify a “most hazardous” substance. At AUC, substances that represent different types of hazards are used/generated in the different science laboratories. Each such material would have associated with it a Material Safety Data Sheet, which specifies the hazard(s), the risks associated with the different uses of the material, best practices and precautions for storage, handling and disposal, safe exposure levels, etc. These practices and precautions must be strictly adhered to. In my opinion, materials with no immediate and obvious hazards (such as flammability, or risk of explosion, or toxicity) can actually be the most detrimental. For example, chlorinated organic solvents represent significant negative impacts on the environment, as they negatively affect different parameters in ecosystems. However, they do not necessarily present eminent risks while being used, and generally users can be lax about disposal requirements. In the Chemistry labs, we are very strict about this, and these substances have a specific collection and disposal scheme. Generally at AUC, different departments coordinate with the Health and Safety Office for the collection of hazardous wastes produced, and service contracts with specialized companies ensure that these wastes are collected from AUC for safe disposal. Q: In your opinion, how well is Egypt is doing on the issue of hazardous waste these days? Is there something we should be worried about? A: Hazardous substances and waste management is a recognized priority in Egypt. Moreover, Egypt is actively involved in different international conventions and initiatives in this respect. However, there are of course challenges which need to be continuously addressed. These primarily entail awareness issues (generators of hazardous wastes, for example, might not be technically competent to identify these wastes, or know how best to handle them), as well as resource issues. Handling, treating and disposing of hazardous wastes necessitate financial resources which are more significant than those needed for other types of wastes. Q: You seem to have done a lot of work with zirconium and titanium. What is the greatest impact these materials have on the life of the average person? A: Zirconium and titanium are transition metals, and their oxides are recognized catalysts. These are agents which have the overall effect of speeding up chemical reactions. In this respect, zirconium and titanium oxides are widely used in a significant number of industrial applications as catalysts, generally allowing a more economic production of a wide variety of chemicals which are used in manufacturing. Moreover, titanium oxide is photosensitive, and is used in pigments, sunscreen lotions, and as a photocatalyst (its action as a catalyst is affected by light). Recently it has been used in photovoltaic cells. Q: Like others at AUC, you have also done research at the "nano" scale. And I want to ask all of our nano-researchers this question when I speak with them… Sometimes the public reads frightening things about the possible harmful uses of nanotechnology, such as terrifying futuristic weapons. How legitimate are those fears? A: Some of the structures at the nanoscale always existed. Our ability to detect them has been significantly enhanced since the 1980’s with the development of different specific measurement techniques. Subsequent developments allowed the manipulation of these structures, which opened the field to the synthesis of a much wider range of structures at this scale. The health and safety issues related to nanostructures are still a subject of debate internationally. With the rapid development in the field, nanotechnology offers exciting potentials for positively affecting our daily lives. Nevertheless, as has been the case for the development of other fields of science and technology, malicious usages cannot be ruled out. I believe that terrifying futuristic weapons, however, are for the time being in the realm of science fiction. Q: Finally, readers might like to know about your other interests aside from chemistry. What else do you do with your time? A: I do travel extensively for pleasure, and I read for relaxation in Arabic, French and English. The majority of what I read for pleasure is non-science, with particular interest in history, sociology and architecture. FACULTY NEWS Stancil Campbell, Chair of the Department of Performing and Visual Arts, participated in a Habitat for Humanity construction project during August 2009 in the area of Huehuetenango in Guatemala. The 18-person team of volunteers worked on the construction of two houses during the project and saw them to near completion before departing Central America. For information on volunteering with Habitat for Humanity projects in Egypt, please contact Stancil by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Kathleen Saville, Senior Instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Composition, has been invited to the Vermont Studio Center, USA where she will spend January and February 2010 as a writing resident. The "Vermont Studio Center is the largest international artists' and writers' residency program in the US…" (source: http://www.vermontstudiocenter.org/) FACULTY RESEARCH BY SCHOOL (as reported by the faculty members) In this issue of the Bulletin, we have: 2 books 1 edited volume 1 book chapter 2 journal articles 2 creative works 6 conference presentations 1 conference panel organized School of Business (SoB) Hamid E. Ali, Assistant Professor, Department of Management •Journal article, Eric Lin & Hamid E. Ali, "Military Spending and Inequality in Middle East and North Africa: Panel Granger Causality Test." Journal of Peace Research. 2009:46, pages 671-685. Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS) Belle Gironda, Assistant Professor, Department of Rhetoric and Composition •Book, Building Codes, a collection of poetry. (Stockport Flats Press, 2009.) •Conference presentation, "The Posthuman Body from Virtual Community to Social Network." Session on the Rhetoric of Embodiment, joint conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric and the International Society for the History of Rhetoric held at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. July 20-26, 2009. •Conference presentation, "Local Composition/Global Composition in Post-Colonial Egypt." Seminar entitled "Writing at the Edge of the Empire: Composition and Postcolonial Studies." The annual American Comparative Literature Association Conference. Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. March 26-29, 2009. Salima Ikram, Professor of Egyptology (Dept. of SAPE) •Conference presentation, "Recent Discoveries Along the Darb Ain Amur." VIth Dakhla Oasis Project conference. Lecce, Italy. September 2009. Bernard O'Kane, Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture (Dept. of ARIC) •Edited Volume, Creswell Photographs Re-examined: New Perspectives on Islamic Architecture. (Cairo: AUC Press, 2009.) •Book chapter, “The Great Mosque of Hama Redux,” in Creswell Photographs Re-examined: New Perspectives on Islamic Architecture, B. O'Kane ed. (Cairo: AUC Press, 2009). Pages 219-246. •Conference presentation, “A New Source for the Mosque of Bashtak.” The Arts of the Mamluk Conference. School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. September 23-26, 2009. Kathleen Saville, Senior Instructor, Department of Rhetoric and Composition •Creative work, "A Cairo Commuter in Ramadan 2007" (short story). Log Cabin Chronicles. Posted September 5, 2009, at http://www.tomifobia.com/lcc1.html. •Creative work, "A Row on the Nile" (short story). Log Cabin Chronicles. Posted August 21, 2009, at http://www.tomifobia.com/lcc1.html. Sherene Seikaly, Assistant Professor, Department of History •Conference Presentation, "Free Trade and Democracy: Palestinian Businessmen Imagine the Nation." Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting. November 2009. Boston, USA. •Conference Presentation, "Collaborator/Nationalist: Palestinian Businessmen and the 1936 Strike." Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting. November 2009. Boston, USA. •Conference Panel Organizer, "A Material Nahda." Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting. November 2009. Boston, USA. School of Public Affairs (SPA) Rasha A. Abdulla, Assistant Professor and Graduate Director, Department of Journalism and Mass Communications •Book, Policing the Internet: Online Freedom of Expression in the Arab World. The Emirates Occasional Papers series. (Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Center for Strategic Study and Research, 2009.) Justin D. Martin, Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communications •Journal article, “Global Journalism Research: Theories, Methods, Findings, Future.” Journal of Communication, 60 (1), forthcoming.