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Discussions of Middle East politics will inevitably bring Islamism to the table and with it, questions of how Islam in its current iterations came...

Discussions of Middle East politics will inevitably bring Islamism to the table and with it, questions of how Islam in its current iterations came to be. In most cases, the Islamic revival is emphasized as a major turning point in 20th-century Islam. In the case of Egypt, there’s even more prescribed significance to the revival, with Egypt’s booming population, but also its perceived centrality in both the region and in the Muslim world. In Practicing Islam in Egypt: Print Media and Islamic Revival (Cambridge University Press, 2019), Aaron Rock-Singer focuses on three principal characters to tell us the story of the Islamic revival: Salafis, the Muslim Brothers, and state institutions. Combining press sources and oral history, Rock-Singer looks at how non-state actors organized amongst themselves and how the state reacted to them. Thematically, he looks at how all three –the Salafis, the Muslims Brothers, and the Egyptian state– engaged in questions of education, prayer, and gender. In turn, they shaped the Islamic revival in Egypt, with major implications not only for Egypt, but for the global Muslim community.

Aaron Rock-Singer is a social and intellectual historian of the Modern Middle East and Islam. He received his B.A from the University of Pennsylvania (2007), his M.Phil from St. Antony’s College, Oxford (2010) and his Ph.D from Princeton’s Department of Near Eastern Studies (2016). Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House, he joined Cornell’s Department of Near Eastern Studies as a Visiting Assistant Professor. In the Fall of 2019, he will begin a tenure track position in Middle Eastern History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Nadirah Mansour is a graduate student at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies working on the global intellectual history of the Arabic-language press. She tweets @NAMansour26 and produces another Middle-East and North Africa-related podcast: Reintroducing.