Chapter

Contesting Myths, Critiquing Cosmopolitanism, and Creating the New Cairo School of Urban Studies

Diane Singerman and Paul Amar

in Cairo Cosmopolitan

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9789774162893
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970269 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5743/cairo/9789774162893.003.0001
Contesting Myths, Critiquing Cosmopolitanism, and Creating the New Cairo School of Urban Studies

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This introductory chapter presents some collective findings on the novelty and complexity of globalizing Cairo. It launches a set of questions that will lead to more productive, critical, and democratic approaches for producing knowledge about the Middle East. It lays out the specificities of the Cairo School of Urban Studies' agenda and methods, and, in particular, the book's critique and careful appropriation of cosmopolitanism. In brief, the chapter recognizes that cosmopolitanism has often been imbedded in transnationalist, normative, universalist, and imperialist discourses. Nevertheless, when reworked through critical scholarship and public action, cosmopolitanism may inform an emancipatory counter-ethic beyond the limits of nationalism, fear, and narrow identity politics, one that complements the Cairo School's experiments with post-positivist research methodologies. However, first, the chapter returns to the events that confirmed Cairo's reemergence as a critical site for action and inquiry, and which made the release of this book timely.

Keywords: Cairo; Middle East; Cairo School of Urban Studies; cosmopolitanism; nationalism; narrow identity politics

Chapter.  16169 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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