Urban Ecologies of the Lower Nile Valley
June 11-12-13, 2023, Cairo
A conference organized by the American University in Cairo (AUC) and the Center for Economic, Legal, and Social Studies and Documentation (CEDEJ) and convened by Noura Wahby (AUC) and Pascal Menoret (CEDEJ) with the support of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the French Institute in Egypt (IFE), and the CEDEJ.
This international conference brings together social scientists and ecologists to study urban ecologies along the lower Nile Valley, with comparisons from cases across the global South and North. Locating current scholarly debates on the environment in the fields of anthropology, political ecology, sustainability, and urban governance, we follow four directions of research:
1. The Nile Valley and big cities. From food production to construction techniques, waste management and water consumption, what practices show the way toward establishing more harmonious relations between human and non-human urban societies? How is the Nile Valley shaped and being shaped by urban transformations, local ecologies and socio-technical interventions?
2. Cities in their materiality. How do we study the flows of energy, foods, goods, air, water, pollution, and waste that make up urban environments? Is urbanism as a form of spatial organization a notion of the past? What is needed to create ecological cities?
3. Cities and mass ecological destruction. How do we make sense of the scale of the ecological destruction? How do we account for the loss of biodiversity and for the climate catastrophe that accompanies it? How can urbanism become less destructive? How do we understand ecological destruction from the vantage point of cities that dot the lower Nile Valley, and in particular Khartoum, Cairo, and Alexandria?
4. Governing Nile Valley urban ecologies. What are the political, social and economic implications of urban ecologies on the Nile? How are these spaces governed and governing human and non-human interactions? How can the ordering of urban ecologies impact just urban transformations along the river?
By launching a wide reflection on urban ecologies today, we aim to bridge the divide between social and natural sciences. We also want to de-exceptionalize the study of the environment in the Middle East and North Africa, and to bring together researchers working globally. The conference will be organized around small panels with interventions by non-Middle East specialists to develop a transcontinental conversation about urban ecologies, and also to treat Egypt and Sudan as sites of theoretical production.
We welcome papers that tackle urban ecologies in Egypt, Sudan, and across the global south and north. We invite researchers and practitioners engaged in critical ecological action to send proposals. Proposals should include an abstract (around 250 words) and a short biography (100 words) in one pdf document, and be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 31, 2023 (11:59pm Cairo Central Time).
Travel and accommodation will be covered for participants who do not reside in Cairo, Egypt.