The Agony of Alexandria (Lecture)




The Agony of Alexandria lecture examines the political, economic and socio-cultural tensions running through the Egyptian city of Alexandria. The talk provides an analysis on how the state has politically branded the city for ideological goals, from Nasser’s reprimanding and marginalisation of Alexandria for its long association with royal decadence to Mubarak’s manipulation of the city’s public spaces for reconciliation steps with the West. This, among other factors, undermined the Alexandrians’ sense of civic ownership. Moreover, the post-2011 events are further fracturing the coastal city as decades of centralisation have come to a head resulting in the disruption of the urban fabric, brain drain to the capital, hampering of civil society’s growth, the rise of the real estate mafia and the gradual disintegration of the cultural imaginary. The session will conclude with comprehensive ways in which these trends can arguably be reversed. The working language for this lecture will be in English.