A Discussion with Peter Gran

"Asyut in Modern Times: The Problem of Invisibility"
Peter Gran, Mirna Wasef, Joel Gordon
Jun 3, 2021 at -

This event has passed. A recording of the event and subsequent Q&A can be found here: A Discussion with Peter Gran.

On June 3rd, 2021, at 11:00AM, we will hold the second meeting of the Modern Egyptian Studies Forum! Building on the success of our inaugural event, we are hosting a thematic conversation with Peter Gran (Temple University) about the value of “provincializing” our analyses of modern Egyptian history. Our point of departure will be the article that Gran published in the February 2021 issue of the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES), entitled, “Asyut in Modern Times: The Problem of Invisibility.” Weston Bland will moderate this event, which features Peter Gran in conversation with Mirna Wasef (University of California, San Diego) and Joel Gordon (University of Arkansas).

Focusing on Asyut, “a city so invisible that even the English spelling of its name is elusive – variably Asyut, Assuit, Assiut, Siout, or even Essiout,” Gran raises questions about Egyptian history and the way Euro-American, Egyptian, and other historians have written it. He considers marginality and invisibility, centers and peripheries, regional North-South dynamics, the neglect of provincial history, and the opportunities for drawing comparative insights, notably to Italy via the work of Antonio Gramsci. In this article, as in his recent book, The Persistence of Orientalism: Anglo-American Historians and Modern Egypt (Syracuse University Press, 2020), Gran engages broader questions about the making of knowledge about modern Egypt.

Peter Gran, “Asyut in Modern Times: The Problem of Invisibility,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 53, 2021, pp. 113-17.

The Modern Egyptian Studies Forum is an online event series and scholarly community dedicated to the study of modern Egypt. Events organized by the Forum have included book talks, thematic conversations, and discussions on archival access, pedagogy, and publishing. It welcomes scholars at various career stages, from graduate students to emeritus professors. For recordings of recent events see Events. Its sponsor is the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) at the University of Pennsylvania.

As always, if there is someone that you think should join us in this event, please write to Weston Bland (wbland@sas.upenn.edu). We will be happy to invite them, if we have not done so already.