Omnia El Shakry



  • B.A., Psychology, American University in Cairo
  • M.A., Middle East Studies, New York University
  • M.A., History, Princeton University
  • Ph.D., History, Princeton University


Omnia El Shakry teaches courses, both undergraduate and graduate, on Modern Middle East History, World History, Postcolonial theory, and Comparative Middle East/South Asia studies. El Shakry’s scholarship focuses primarily on the intellectual history of the Arab world, with a special emphasis on the history of the human sciences in modern Egypt. She maintains additional research interests in gender and sexuality and visual cultures in the modern Middle East. She is the author of The Great Social Laboratory: Subjects of Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Egypt (Stanford University Press, 2007), and the editor of Gender and Sexuality in Islam (Routledge, 2016). She has also expanded her work on the Middle East to include the relationship between politics and aesthetics in the contemporary visual arts, with articles appearing in e-flux, Third Text, and Nafas art magazine.

Her current book, titled The Arabic Freud: Psychoanalysis and Islam in Modern Egypt (Princeton University Press, forthcoming), traces the development of discourses of psychoanalysis and subjectivity in postwar Egypt as part of the transnational history of ideas and comparative social history. An essay from this project was recently published in the Journal Modern Intellectual History.  Her work has been translated into Arabic, Turkish, French, German, and Spanish. She has received fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others.

Prof. El Shakry advises students with an interest in the intellectual history of the Modern Middle East, the comparative history of the Middle East and South Asia, and the transnational circulation of ideas. She works intensively with graduate students in helping them produce work that is theoretically sophisticated, methodologically interdisciplinary, and historically grounded.



Department of History University of California, Davis