Samuli Schielke

Samuli Schielke examines creative trajectories in Alexandria in the context of contradictory post-revolutionary dynamics. He asks why and for whom people write poetry, fiction, or social criticism, and which consequences literary practice has for the lives and social trajectories of the writers. He also addresses the politics of literary imagination which he sees as part of a struggle over what kind of a city Alexandria is and ought to be. This struggle takes place in a field of contention between the nostalgia (also sponsored by European cultural diplomacy) for colonial Alexandria, the power of radical religious movements, and a revitalised paranoid nationalism. Under conditions of a violent political polarisation, the literary engagement with the European in Alexandria raises the wider, urgent question about otherness and difference in a divided society.

For the ISOE exhibition, Schielke collaborated with the Iskenderiyan Standards group.
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Samuli Schielke was born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1972, and received his PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Amsterdam in 2006. He is head of the research group “In Search of Europe.” His ongoing ethnographic research in Egypt touches on topics of aspiration and frustration, migration and imagination, revolutionary politics and literary lives. He is author of the books You'll Be Late for the Revolution (in Arabic, 2011), The Perils of Joy (2012), Ordinary Lives and Grand Schemes (with Liza Debevec, 2012), and The Global Horizon (with Knut Graw, 2012).