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Dr. Noura Wahby awarded the prestigious Malcolm Kerr Dissertation Award in Social Sciences at MESA

last modified Nov 30, 2019 10:20 PM

We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Noura Wahby, former CDS PhD student, has been awarded the prestigious Malcolm Kerr Dissertation Award in Social Sciences at MESA (Middle East Studies Association) 2019, for her thesis “The Role of the State and Urban Development- The Case of Urban Waterscapes in Cairo, Egypt” 

The MESA Dissertation Awards were established in 1982 to recognize exceptional achievement in research and writing for/of dissertations in Middle East studies. In 1984 the award was named for Malcolm H. Kerr to honour his significant contributions to Middle East studies. Awards are given in two categories: Social Sciences and Humanities.

The dissertation was completed at the Centre of Development Studies under the supervision of Dr. Maha Abdelrahman.

The Review Committee wrote:

"Dr. Wahby's thesis on regimes of governance in urban water systems in Cairo is a masterful example of theoretically rich, methodically sophisticated, interdisciplinary research that is solidly grounded in painstaking fieldwork.  Tracing the pathways of water management in a dense urban setting, Dr. Wahby is able to map the political ecologies that emerge as Cairo's residents, both rich and poor, navigate the layered relationships associated with access to an essential resource. She offers an innovative and insightful analysis tracing the often ad hoc construction of regimes of governance in Cairo's sprawling water systems. Her analysis challenges both long-held assumptions about formality and informality and apolitical explanations of urban failures.  While Dr. Wahby highlights both what the state does and does not do, the role of entrepreneurial elites, and that of development institutions, she also studies the various strategies that marginalized citizens develop when confronted with the limits of state capacity in the management of urban waterscapes.  Her dissertation is informed and enriched by a deep understanding of, and empathy with, the people whose lives and struggles lie at the center of her research.  Dr. Wahby's work sheds crucial light on the politics of urban water as a site of negotiation, accumulation by dispossession, and protest.  In the process, it compels readers to engage with the critical questions about citizenship, class, and the state in the contemporary Middle East."

2019 Review Committee: Steven Heydemann, Smith College, Elena Aoun, Catholic University of Louvain, Sean Foley, Middle Tennessee State University and Sima Shakhsari, University of Minnesota