Egypt and pop culture post-revolution: A conversation with Walter Armbrust

pablo5“I was in Egypt during the revolution,” Walter Armbrust said, “As probably everybody knows the first 18 days of the revolution when the Mubarak regime was overthrown was a period of great euphoria…this is this is exactly what you should expect but ritual is a name that we give for dealing with social transitions that we know will happen.”

This week, Marc Lynch talks with Armbrust to talk about Egypt and the 2011 uprisings, and how his latest research project as he was living in Egypt in 2011, researching another project.

“The initial period of euphoria then transforms into a state of everybody choosing sides and reckoning power, which is what happened in the revolution. And actually it explains many revolutions. Revolutions often end up with unintended consequences. That was certainly the case in the Egyptian revolution, but it’s actually very common in revolutions,” Armbrust said.

Armbrust also spoke about his research into how Islamists are portrayed in Egyptian cinema and in Egyptian television dramas.

“Prior to the revolution, there was no such thing as Islamist TV production. Islamists had many other channels into media. They flourished in an environment of decentralized media,” Armbrust said.

Ambrust is the Hourani Fellow and a University Lecturer in modern Middle Eastern studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford.

This week’s podcast is an edited version of this conversation. Listen on iTunesSoundCloud, or below:

Read more from Armbrust:

Abdel Fatah al-Sissi in the Age of the Trickster, May 2016
The Trickster in Egypt’s January 25th Revolution, October 2013
Rope-a-dope: The strategy of Egypt’s puppet masters, July 2013