Omnia El Shakry

Associate Professor, Department of History

Office: 4209 Social Sciences & Humanities 
Phone: (530) 752 9980 

Professor El Shakry received her B.A. from the American University in Cairo, with a focus on the social sciences. After returning to the U.S. she received her M.A. in Middle East Studies from N.Y.U., and then her Ph.D. from Princeton University’s History department. Her first book is a history of social science in Egypt from 1890-1945. Her forthcoming project is entitled, “Theorizing the Soul: Modernity and the Construction of Selfhood in Twentieth Century Egypt.”

El Shakry is a founding member of the Middle East/ South Asia Studies Program and is affiliated with the Cultural Studies Program on campus. This summer (2013) she directed an NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers, "Roots of the Arab Spring." She is currently co-organizing an International symposium at UCSC Unfixed Itineraries: Film and Visual Culture from Arab Worlds.

Additional Publications:



  • “The Arabic Freud: The Unconscious and the Modern Subject,” Modern Intellectual History, forthcoming.
  • “The Curiosities of Middle East Studies in Queer Times,” co-authored with Paul Amar,International Journal of Middle East Studies 45, no. 2 (2013): 331-35.
  • “Rethinking Entrenched Binaries in Middle East Gender and Sexuality Studies,”International Feminist Journal of Politics, 2012.
  • “Youth as Peril and Promise: The Emergence of Adolescent Psychology in Postwar Egypt,” International Journal of Middle East Studies Vol. 43, no. 4 (November 2011): 591-610.
  • “Imagining ‘the Political’ Otherwise,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 43, no.3 (August 2011): 384-85.
  • "Egypt's Three Revolutions: The Force of History Behind the Popular Uprising" (in English, French, and Arabic), Transeuropeennes: International Journal of Critical Thought, February 21, 2011, Originally published in Jadaliyya, February 6, 2011.
  • “The Body Doubled: Artistic Strategies, the Body, and Public Space” (in English and Arabic), in Indicated by Signs, edited by Aleya Hamza and Edit Molnar (Goethe Institute, Cairo and Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn: Cairo, 2010), 64-81.
  • “Dense Objects and Sentient Viewings: Contemporary Art Criticism and the Middle East” (in English and Turkish), in What Keeps Mankind Alive? The Texts: Catalog for the 11th International Istanbul Biennial, edited by What, How, and for Whom/WHW and Ilkay Balic, (Istanbul, Turkey: IKSV, Istanbul Kultur Sanat Vakfi, 2009), 381-409.
  • "The Hidden Location: Art and Politics in the Work of Hassan Khan," Third Text Asia: Special Issue on Arts, Scholarship and the Arab/Muslim World, Volume 1, Number 2 (Spring 2009), 71-85.
  • "Artistic Sovereignty in the Shadow of Post-Socialism: Egypt's 20th Annual Youth Salon"e-flux journal 7 (July 2009).
  • “Barren Land and Fecund Bodies: the Emergence of Population Discourse in Interwar Egypt,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 37 (August 2005): 351-372. 
  • “Cairo as Capital of Socialist Revolution?” in Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Middle East, edited by Diane Singerman and Paul Amar (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press), 2006. 
  • “Science: Medicalization, and the Female Body,” in Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, Volume 3: Family, Body, Sexuality and Health, ed. S. Joseph, et. al. (Leiden: Brill), 2005, pp. 353-359. 
  • “Schooled Mothers and Structured Play: Child-Rearing in Turn of the Century Egypt,” inRemaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East, ed. Lila Abu-Lughod (Princeton: Princeton University Press and Cairo: American University in Cairo Press), 1998.

Courses Taught

HIS 10C - The World Since 1850

HIS 110A - Colonialism and the Making of the Modern World

HIS 193A - Modern Middle East, 1750-1914

HIS 193B - The Middle East in the Twentieth Century

MSA 180 - Comparative Modernity in the Middle East/South Asia 

Seminars, Undergraduate: 

Colonialism and its Discontents (HIS 102X); Gender and Sexuality in the Modern Middle East (HIS 102R).

Seminars, Graduate: 

Modern Middle East History: Problems and Methods (HIS 201M); Genealogy, Islam, and Modernity (201M); World History: Approaches and Methods (HIS 201X); Critical Theory for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies (HIS 201W).