Department of Politics and International Studies

Dr Reem Abou-El-Fadl

Key information

Department of Politics and International Studies Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics of the Middle East
Department of Politics and International Studies
BA, MPhil, DPhil (Oxford)
Russell Square, College Buildings
Email address
Telephone number
+44(0)20 7898 4713
Support hours
Research leave in Terms 2 and 3


Reem Abou-El-Fadl is Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics of the Middle East at SOAS University of London, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her research interests are in the politics of nationalism and nation making in the Middle East, and the connections between local, national, and transnational scales of political identity. Her book, Foreign Policy as Nation Making: Turkey and Egypt in the Cold War was published by Cambridge University Press in 2019. She is particularly interested in the politics of solidarity across the Arab world, and is currently researching the intersections of pan-Arabism and Afro-Asianism in Egypt, focusing on the Nasser and Sadat periods. Reem is the editor of Revolutionary Egypt: Connecting Domestic and International Struggles (Routledge, 2015), and of the Arabic language memoir of Egyptian Africanist Helmi Sharawy, Sira Misriyya Ifriqiyya (‘An Egyptian African Story’) (Dar al-Ain, 2019), which she is translating into English. Reem is co-editor of the Egypt page at Jadaliyya. Her work has appeared in Journal of World History, Nations and Nationalism, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, and Journal of Palestine Studies. Her publications may be viewed on her and google scholar pages.

Reem teaches survey and specialist courses on different aspects of the politics of the Middle East, and convenes an annual SOAS Summer School programme entitled The Middle East in Global Politics. She has a keen interest in public legal education and has facilitated a workshop on employment law to graduating university students at SOAS, in collaboration with the Careers Service.

Before moving to SOAS, Reem was Lecturer in the Politics and International Relations of the Middle East at the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University, and Junior Research Fellow at St Edmund Hall and the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. She completed her doctorate in Politics at St Antony’s College, Oxford, in 2010.


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Research interests

Reem’s book, Foreign Policy as Nation Making: Turkey and Egypt in the Cold War (Cambridge University Press, 2019) examines the divergent foreign policies of the Free Officers in Egypt and the Democrats in Turkey in the 1950s, in light of their contrasting nation making projects. The book is based on her doctoral thesis, which was given an Honourable Mention by the BRISMES Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize Committee in 2011. She has written a post on the book for the Cambridge Core blog.

Reem is currently pursuing two new research projects. The first examines the politics of transnational solidarity and resistance in Egypt during the 1970s, with particular attention to popular engagement with the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian cause in the run-up to the Camp David Accords. She has conducted extensive interviews with members of the 1972-3 student movement in Egypt. In 2017 she was awarded a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant to conduct research on another aspect of this project, entitled ‘Resistance and Solidarity on the Road to Camp David: The Founding of the Dar al-Fata al-'Arabi Publishing House, 1973-75’. 

Her second project investigates the African and Afro-Asian engagements of the Egyptian state and popular actors during the Nasser era. She is a member of the research team of the AHRC funded Afro-Asian Networks Collective, led by Su Lin Lewis and Carolien Stolte. Her collaborations with the collective include contributing to ‘Manifesto: Networks of Decolonization in Asia and Africa’, authored by the Collective and published in Radical History Review in 2018, and contributing an article on ‘Building Egypt’s Afro-Asian Hub’ to a special issue entitled ‘Other Bandungs: Afro-Asian Networks in the Early Cold War’, appearing in the Journal of World History in June 2019.

Reem has a keen interest in translation. Her work on Afro-Asianism began when she edited the Arabic-language memoir of prominent Egyptian Africanist Helmi Sharawy, Sira Misriyya Ifriqiyya (‘An Egyptian African Story’), which was published by Dar al-Ain in Cairo in 2019. She is currently translating the memoir into English. It has been reviewed and the book launch advertised in several major Egyptian newspapers and websites, including Al-Ahram, Al-Shorouk, Al-Masry Al-Youm, Al-Dostor and Aswat Online.

In 2015, Reem published the edited volume Revolutionary Egypt: Connecting Domestic and International Struggles (Routledge, 2015). Its contributors examine the political contestation of both domestic and foreign policy in Egypt, and the regional and international connections of its new political actors. The volume came out of a conference she convened at the University of Oxford in 2012 entitled ‘The Egyptian Revolution One Year On: Causes, Consequences, Fortunes’.

Reem welcomes PhD students with an interest in these themes and empirical cases, and invites them to get in touch.


Contact Reem