I am an ethnographer of stage, street, and digital performance, with a particular interest in youth culture in the Arab world. My forthcoming book Theaters of Citizenship: Aesthetics and Politics of Egypt’s Avant-Gardes (Northwestern University Press, 2020) examines the cultural politics of identity in Egyptian underground theater, before and after 2011. A generation of Egyptians disillusioned with electoral process used theatrical performance and acting workshops as sites of staging cultural politics. Their embodied debates on gender, media, refugee rights, and self-help, were a locus of an underground intellectual scene that endured Egypt’s political cataclysms. Since 2011, I’ve launched a second project on young Arab women’s digital performances. Beginning with an article on Egyptian bloggers who used intimate digital spaces to talk about self and sexuality, as well as revolutionary politics, I have studied the performances of a Saudi beauty vlogger and Egyptian hijab evangelist on Instagram. Their multiple stages – on personal and corporate media platforms – assemble inventive embodiments of young Arab womanhood. I am interested in how their roles evolve across platforms and study them as posthuman performances, built by algorithmic, technological, and bodily processes.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • PhD: Anthropology, Columbia University, ,
  • BA: , Amherst College, ,


  • Middle East Studies, performance studies, digital media, gender studies, youth culture, Egypt