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Photo of Said, Atef S.

Atef S. Said, PhD

Assistant Professor

Sociology

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Contact

Building & Room:

4146A BSB

Address:

1007 W Harrison St.

Office Phone:

312-413-3761

About

Courses Taught:

Classical Sociological Theory, Seminar in Political Sociology, Historical Sociological Methods, Middle Eastern Societies, Contemporary Social Movements, and Revolutions.

 

Bio:

I am a sociologist, passionate about politics, revolutions, and social change. My scholarship engages with the fields of sociological theory, political sociology, historical sociology, sociology of the Middle East, and global sociology.

 

My current research focuses on the spatio-temporalities of revolution, historical analyses of revolutions in relation to knowledge production, and coloniality and de-coloniality, as I am putting the final touches to my book, Revolution Squared: The Egyptian Uprising of 2011 Between Historical Possibilities and Counter-Revolutionary Containments (forthcoming from Duke University Press). Once that manuscript is submitted, I will start working on two concurrent projects.  The first explores the future of revolutions. For me, whether or not there is a future for revolutions is a futile question. Rather, I am interested in the nature of future revolutions as they relate to political and social change, and the evolving meanings and practices of democracy today. In my second project, I will investigate the global rise of neo-liberal authoritarianism over the past two decades, within historically established democracies and non-democracies alike.

Before I transitioned to academia, I worked as a human rights attorney and researcher in Egypt, from 1995 to 2004. While there, I practiced human rights law and directed research initiatives at a number of human rights organizations. I also wrote two books, Torture in Egypt: A Judicial Reality (2000), published by the Human Rights Center for the Assistance of Prisoners, and Torture Is a Crime Against Humanity (2008), published by the Hisham Mubarak Law Center. Both organizations are based in Cairo, Egypt.

I received a Master’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the American University in Cairo, as well as a Master’s degree and my doctorate in Sociology, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. My PhD dissertation was a study of Cairo’s famed Tahrir Square as both a political space and a lens for understanding the successes and failures of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Drawing on extensive ethnographic and historical data, I linked the Square’s historical constitution as a political space to the long history of political protest in Egypt. The dissertation received the 2014 ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award at the University of Michigan, an annual award given in recognition of the most exceptional scholarly work produced by doctoral students at the University of Michigan.

You can find my scholarly articles in such journals as Social Problems, Social Research, International Sociology, Sociology CompassContemporary Sociology, and Middle East Critique. I also regularly contribute to political, cultural, and intellectual public conversations, as demonstrated by my essays in  US Amnesty Magazine, the “Immanent Frame” blog of the Social Science Research Council, the Oxford Bibliographies in Sociology, the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) as well as Jadaliyya, the influential news and critical commentary site of the Washington, DC-based Arab Studies Institute.  I have also written for Truthout, and  “Mobilizing Ideas,” the online blog of the Center for the Study of Social Movements of Notre Dame University.