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Diane Singerman

Associate Professor
Department of Government

  • Additional Positions at AU

    Co-Director, Middle East Studies@AU
  • Dr. Singerman is an Associate Professor and comparativist whose research interests focus on political change from below, particularly in the Middle East, and more specifically Egypt. Her work examines the formal and informal side of politics, gender, social movements, globalization, public space, protest, and urban politics. Her most recent edited books are Cairo Contested: Governance, Urban Space, and Global Modernity, and Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East.

    Professor Singerman is also the Co-Director and Co-Founder of Middle East Studies @ American University. She is currently working on a project funded by the Ford Foundation called "Tadamun: The Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative," which aims to research, publicize and promote ways that communities in Cairo can mobilize to improve their neighborhoods, reform local government, and redefine their role in the public sphere. See www.tadamun.info for more detail.
  • Degrees

    Ph.D. Princeton University
    M.A. Princeton University
    B.A. Princeton University
  • Favorite Spot on Campus:

    My office

    Languages Spoken:

    Arabic (Egyptian Colloquial)

  • SPA - Government
  • Ward - 242

  • (202) 885-2362 (Office)
  • Send email Profile UserID

  • To request an interview for a
    news story, call AU Communications
    at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Partnerships & Affiliations


  • Spring 2014

    • GOVT-637 Comparative Politics: Regions: Politics in the Middle East
    • Description
    • HNRS-302 Honors Collqm in Social Sc: Revolution & Reform in Egypt
    • Description

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Comparative politics, Middle East and Egyptian politics, gender and politics in the Middle East, and scholarship on informal politics, urban politics, new urbanism, political participation, marriage, personal status law, youth, and social movements


The bi-lingual website of TADAMUN: The Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative, www.tadamun.info, includes a database, many policy briefs, articles, case studies, and analysis about the issues of urban governance, urban development, local government, the built environment and social justice.

2011 website:  Gender and Afghanistan: 2001 and Beyond?

This website was created by undergraduate and graduate students  in a small seminar on Gender and Politics in the Middle East, taught in  spring 2011. This course explored the ways in which the social, political, and  cultural construction of sexual difference influences the nature and  practice of political life in the Middle East. It examined both  theoretically and empirically the ways in which power is gendered and  how gender has served as a basis for political organization, the  distribution of power, and the boundaries of public life (see the class syllabus.)  After examining relevant feminist theory and other theoretical lenses  into these issues, the last month of the course focused directly on the  complex situation of gender and politics in Afghanistan - which was a  geographic stretch for the course.


Fall 2011:  Media/Web projects from my Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences: Egyptian Politics, Protest, & Change?

The Cairo Story: Non-Violent Resistance in the 2011 Egyptian Uprising, created by Sarah Palazzolo, American University Class of 2016.

Tweeting Egypt: The Social Media of the Egyptian Uprising, created by Sarah Parnass, American University Class of 2012.

Media related to project on marriage costs in the Middle East:  





Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • 2012.  Outstanding Honors Faculty Award, Honors Program, American University.

  • 2011. Principal Investigator, “Adding Value to Community Assets: ‘Normalizing’ Housing Renovation and Reimagining Urban Governance Structures in Greater Cairo.” Ford Foundation, Middle East and North Africa Program.  

  • 2011. Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies Distinguished Lecturer. “Youth, Gender, and Dignity in the Arab Uprisings,” April 15, 2011, Yale University.

  • 2011. Principal Investigator, "Islam in Focus," Social Science Research Council, Academia and the Public Sphere, June  2010-December.

  • SPA Faculty Development Award, 2007-2009

  • MEAwards Program Grant, “The Cost of Marriage in Egypt.” The Population Council, Cairo, Egypt. 2000-2002.
  • American University Senate Research Awards Program. "The Cost of Marriage in Egypt: Measurement Conventions, Understanding of Poverty, and Changing Social and Demographic Norms." 2000-2001.

  • American University Research Award, "A Reading of the Siege of Imbaba: Informality, Islamists, and State-Society Relations in Egypt," 1997-1998.
  • Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences, The Middle East Studies Association of North America, November 1990. Awarded to the best dissertation in the social sciences in Middle East studies.
  • Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad, Cairo, Egypt, 1985-1986.   
  • Social Science Research Council Award for Dissertation Research, 1985-1987.


Selected Publications



Journal Articles/Book Chapters/Working Papers:


  • “Youth, Gender, and Dignity in the Egyptian Uprising.”  Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, 9 (3), Fall 2013, 1-27.
  •  “The Negotiation of Waithood: The Political Economy of Delayed Marriage in Egypt.” In Arab Youth: Social Mobilisation in Times of Risk, Samir Khalif and Roseanne Khalif, eds., pp. 67-78, London: Saqi Books, 2011.

  • “Liberation Meets the State.” International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 388-389, 2011.

  • "Gender and Politics," in Politics and Society of the Contemporary Middle East, Michele Penner Angrist, ed., pp. 155-173, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010.

  •   “Restoring the Family to Civil Society: Lessons from Egypt.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, 2:1 (Winter 2006): 1-32.
  • "I’aada al-Usr li-Mujtama’a al-Madani: Duruus min Masr." in Nahwa Diraasa Al-Nu'a fi Al-'Alum Al-Siyaasiya [“Restoring the Family to Civil Society: Lessons From Egypt,” Reader on Gender and Political Science, IN ARABIC], Mervat Hatem, ed., pp. 247-267, Cairo: Women and Memory Forum, 2010.           
  • The Economic Imperatives of Marriage: Emerging Practices and Identities among Youth in the Middle East.” Middle East Youth Initiative Working Paper.  Wolfensohn Center for Development, The Brookings Institution, No. 6, September, 2007.  Washington, D.C.
  • "Contesting Myths, Critiquing Cosmopolitanism, and Creating the Cairo School of Urban Studies.” In Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture and Urban Space in the New Middle East, Diane Singerman and Paul Amar, eds, 1-43. American University in Cairo Press, 2006 (Paul Amar, co-author).
  • “Cairo Cosmopolitan: Citizenship, Urban Space, Publics, and Inequality.”  In Cities of the South:  Citizenship and Exclusion in the 21st Century, Barbara Drieskens, Franck Mermier, and Heiko Wimmen, eds.  Al-Saqi Books.  London. August 2007.
  • “Rewriting Divorce in Egypt: Reclaiming Islam, Legal Activism, and Coalition Politics.” In Remaking Muslim Politics: Pluralism, Contestation, Democratization , Robert Hefner, ed., 161-188. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.
  • “The Networked World of Islamist Social Movements.” In Islamic Activism: A Social Movement Theory Approach, Quintann Wiktorowicz, ed., 143-163. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004.
  • “The Politics of Emergency Rule in Egypt.” Current History 101 (January 2002): 29-35.
  • “The Cost of Marriage in Egypt: A Hidden Variable in the New Arab Demography and Poverty Research.”  Special Edition on “The New Arab Family,” Nick Hopkins, ed. Cairo Papers in the Social Sciences, 24 Spring 2001, 80-116. Co-authored with Dr. Barbara Ibrahim [issued in 2003].
  • "Women, Networks, and the State." In "Gender, Politics, and the State: What do Middle Eastern Women Want?" Augustus Richard Norton, et. al., Middle East Policy. 3 (Summer 1997): 155-189.
  • "Politics at the Household Level in a Popular Quarter of Cairo.” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, 13 (Summer 1990).



AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Comparative politics, Middle East politics, Urbanism in the Middle East, youth in the Middle East, gender politics, marriage and its financial costs in the Middle East, the informal economy, economic and political development, Islamist activism, religion and politics, social movements, studies of resistance; can speak Arabic

Additional Information: Diane Singerman's research interests focus on political change from below, particularly in the Middle East, and more specifically Egypt. Her work examines the formal and informal side of politics, gender, social movements, globalization, public space, and urban politics. Her most recent edited book is Cairo Contested: Governance, Urban Space and Global Modernity and Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East.

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.

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