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The exiled revolution and the revolutionary exile: the emergent political subjectivities of Egyptian political exiles in Istanbul

My doctoral project explores the politics of exile and its contestations in the aftermath of the 2013 military coup in Egypt. I investigate political subjectivity formation of post-2013 Egyptian political exiles in Istanbul. I re-work the concept of exile and engage with anthropological works on the state, refugees, displacement, borderwork, revolutions, nostalgia and home-making. One of my aims is to explore the way in which exile is deployed and developed into the workings of Egyptian state security institutions. My project traces how Egyptians are and were forced to leave the country in the aftermath of the 2013 military coup to depict the function of exile in the Egyptian polity. Understanding exile as a process of political exclusion, I perceive exile as a modality of government in Egypt. In addition, I explore exile as one of the afterlives of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. I seek to understand how the exiles relate to their loss and defeat and how they re-enact and deal with configurations of their political pasts in exile. Through ethnographic storytelling, I reveal the legacies of the 2011 revolution, which the Egyptian exiles embody and recreate.

Supervisors: Michelle Obeid, Soumhya Venkatesan

Research interests

  • Exile, displacement and borders
  • Egyptian and Syrian diasporas and politics
  • Political anthropology
  • Social change and revolutions

Languages: Arabic (native), English (fluent), Spanish (Intermediate), Turkish (Beginner)


Other research

Selected publications

  • 2021 (forthcoming): The World as An Exiling Political Structure: Yassin al-Haj Saleh’s Conceptualization of Exile. In Refugee Scholarship and Refugee Knowledges of Europe. Routledge (Taylor & Francis).
  • 2020, February: al-halam ka bnya syasya nafeya: mafhoom al-Haj Saleh lel manfa [The World As a Politically Exiling Structure: Yassin al-Haj Saleh’s Understanding of Exile]. The Aleppo Project. Published in Arabic.

Activities and esteem

Selection of Conferences attended and invited talks

Arab Diasporas in Europe: Spaces of Political Subjectivity Formation and Activist Engagement, Arab Reform Initiative
Presenter, "Undoing Exile: redefining the political in Berlin
January 2021

The Internationalist Student Forum, Goethe University Frankfurt
Presenter, "Military Education in Egypt: the micro-politics of the 2013 military coup in Egypt" 
January 2021

Transnational Camp for Practical Solidarity
Presenter, "Post-2013 Repression in Egypt"
Leichlingen, Germany, September 2019

Egyptian Prisons: Culture and Practices, MENA Prison Forum
Presenter, "Military Education Course at the Egyptian Universities"
Beirut, May 2019




Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Researcher, The Aleppo Project, Shattuck Center on Conflict, Negotiation and Recovery, Central European University (Budapest College)

Jan 2019Jun 2020


  • Exiles and refugees
  • The state
  • Displacement
  • Political violence
  • Diasporas
  • Revolutions
  • Affect
  • Borders


Dive into the research topics where Elsayed Elsehamy Abdelhamid is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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