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Aya Nassar

I am broadly interested in the relationship between urban space and politics. My research looks into the transforming space of the capital city Cairo, during the first three decades of post-colonial Egypt. I am looking particularly at ‘Fire’, ‘Mud’, ‘Cement’ and ‘Dust’ as key material/metaphoric elements of space that have acted on the city, to see how they can enrich our understanding of the politics of post-independence middle East and the production of city spaces through postcolonial statecraft. Therefore my research interest spans political theory, political geography, urban studies and Middle East studies.

I started my PhD at PAIS in October 2014 under supervision of Dr. Nicola Pratt and Dr. James Brassett, with a chancellor's international scholarship. I am an organising member of the Warwick Political Geography group which is formed of PhD researchers in PaIS working broadly with issues in the intersection of Place, Space and Politics. I am also assisting Marijn Nieuwenhuis on the IAS funded research project and exhibition Losing Ground: on holes and other absences.


Nieuwenhuis, M. and Nassar, A. (2018), "(Porous cities; Coventry through 10 Holes)", Livingmaps Review, NO 4 (2018).

Nassar, A. (2018), "Establishing a Niche for Urban Rights: Ac vism, Urbanism, and the City", in EFFERVESCENT EGYPT: Venues of Mobilization and the Interrupted Legacy of 2011, E-Book/Report. 25 January 2018. Arab Reform Initiative, 32-53. Free access for the English translation and the Arabic original.

Nassar, A. (2017), 'Where the dust settles: fieldwork, subjectivity and materiality in Cairo', Contemporary Social Science. Online first.

Nieuwenhuis, M. and Nassar, A. (2017) 'Dust: Perfect Circularity', Cultural Geographies in Practice, cultural geographies. Online first.

Nassar, A. (2013). ‘Being’in Al-Azhar Park: Public Spaces in Cairo. Open Urban Studies Journal, 6(1), 65-74.

Nassar, A (2011) The symbolism of Tahrir Square. Doha Institute Publications, 21 April 2011. (In Arabic. English translation available here)

Short Publications:

[Book Review] Nassar, A. (2017). Spatial Politics of the Sculptural: Art, Capitalism and Urban Space, Euyoung Hong. Rowman & Littlefield International, London and New York (2016), III and 187 pp. $41.95 paperback. ISBN 978-1-78348-760-8.

[Book Review] Nassar, A. (2017). Amale Andraos, Nora Akawi and Caitlin Blanchfield (eds.) 2016: The Arab City: Architecture and Representation. New York: Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, Columbia University Press. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 41(2), 376-378.

2017: "City Politics: Walking, Bodies and Space", Spring 2017 issue of the APSA MENA Newsletter, p. 7-9.

2016: "Cairo Tower and King Kong: Utopia, Nostalgia and Cairo’s Picture Archives", The Summer 2016 issue of the Postcolonial Studies Association Newsletter: #17 Postcolonial Cities, pp 14-16.

2015: Contributor to Cairobserver's print issue (5) on The University. ( In Arabic). Four co-authored articles:

1) "Bridging Urbanity: The Neighbourhoods Workshop in Retrospect" with Sarah Asseel,

2) "The In-betweeness of Bein El-Sarayat" with Ahmed Borham and AbdulRahman El-Taliawi,

3) "The Ruin Next Door: Al-Ahram Brewery" with Ahmed Borham,

4) "Searching for Another Space: 5 Years for Diwan in Cairo University" with Abeer Rabei.

Guest posts on blogs:

4/4/2017: To Walk the World: Reflections on Not Attending the International Studies Association Convention, The Sociological Review.

8/5/2015: Signs for ‘Ramsis Mall’ and Cairo Station on Cairobserver.

23/4/2015: Architecture as counter hegemonic practice: Political Theory and Architecture in Conversation - Review, on Drawing Parallels.


PO381 Critical Security Studies seminars (2016-2017).

Selected Public Presentations and Events:

5/7/2014: "The City as Politics", Rollercoasting the city x13, curated by Ahmed Zaazaa, Mohamed Hassan, Kareem Nems, Megawra.

23/12/2013: "Egypt's revolution and memory of place" panel, "The right to the city and Public space” initiative, hosted by EIPR.


  • "Dust and cement: The debris of a revolutionary city", PCWP v. 10, 23-25 November, Newcastle.
  • "Poetics of Ruination: The afterlives of the revolution in the city- scape of Cairo", 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations (EISA) The Politics of International Studies in an Age of Crises 13–16 September / Barcelona.
  • "Untyings and Undoings: archival finds in and of the city", RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017, London, 31 August.
  • "Losing Ground: On holes and other absences", PAIS 3rd Annual Research Conference, Coventry, the University of Warwick, with Marijn Nieuwenhuis- 21 June.
  • "A hole with a view on the Nile", Losing Ground: on holes and other absences, workshop and exhibition, the University of Warwick, Coventry, 19-20 May 2017. (co-organizer of the event)
  • "Dust Stories: “The Archives of the City” and “The City as an Archive”, The Third ACSS Conference State, Sovereignty and Social Space in the Arab Region: Emerging Historical and Theoretical Approaches, Beirut, March 10-12, 2017.
  • Panel co-organiser "Generations, Ruination and Memory in Egypt 1952- 2011" . (Non-attending) presentation "Monuments of the State: urban space, commemoration and nationalism in 1970s Cairo", MESA 2016 Annual Meeting, Boston, 17-20 November 2016.
  • "Field notes from Cairo: excavating urban pasts in a turbulent present", Identity, Agency and Fieldwork Methodologies in Risky Environments, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Institute for Asian and African Studies, Berlin 28-29 July 2016.
  • "Staging the State: 1970s Cairo, Nasr City and the Afterlives of Post-Independence Futures ", Utopian Urban Futures: Histories, imaginations, possibilities, Leeds, 27-28 June 2016.
  • Co-organiser: (Dis)Assembling State Space: Conceptualising new geometries of power, 3rd political geography graduate conference, University of Warwick 19-20 May, 2016. (with: Mara Duer, Maria Eugenia Giraudo, Javier Moreno Zacares and Antonio Ferraz De Oliveira).
  • Guest Lecturer, Seminar: "The Ideal City: Cairo, modernity and politics", Center for Political Research & Studies and Intercultural Dialogue (CPRSID) , Cairo University, 13 April 2016.
  • "Public Spaces of Memory: Contested Visualizations of Absence", RC21 Conference 2015, The Ideal City: between myth and reality: Representations, policies, contradictions and challenges for tomorrow's urban life, Urbino (Italy), 27-29 August, 2015.
  • "Public Spaces of Memory: Contested Visualizations of Absence in Cairo", BRISMES/EURAMES Joint Annual Conference 2015: Liberation?, London, LSE Middle East Center, 24-26 June, 2015
Before joining Warwick (selected)
  • "Creating a Field for Urban Activism: Networking for Urban Rights", Part of Panel: Newcomers in Activism: Social Movements and New Directions in Understanding Change in Egypt an ARI project on Social Movements, WOCMES 2014, Ankara (Turkey), 18-22 August, 2014.
  • "Public Spaces in 19th Century Cairo: Reading Hadith 'Isa bin Hisham" (In Arabic), Politics and Literature: problematizing authority, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University, 26-27 March, 2013.
  • "Contesting Visions and Public Spaces in Cairo", The Egyptian Revolution, One Year On: Causes, Characteristics and Fortunes, Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University, 18-19 May 2012.

A dot M dot I dot Nassar at warwick dot ac dot uk

I tweet on @A_M_Nassar

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