In this seminar, Alia Mossallam will reflect on two films of Omar Amiralay’s trilogy on the Euphrates Dam: Film Essay on the Euphrates Dam, which Amiralay made in his excitement for the project in 1970, and A Flood in the Baath Country, released in 2003, a much more critical take on the project and its politics. The discussion inspired by the films will reflect on the ‘world building process’ that building Dams entailed, and the particular ideology, sciences and historiographic practices that shaped this world – in Egypt and Syria in particular.
“What if a Dam was more than just a Dam?”—A reflection on the worlds built by dams through discussing Omar Amiralay’s film trilogy on the Euphrates Dam
Alia Mossallam (EUME Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 2017-21), Chair: Pascale Ghazaleh (AUC / EUME Fellow 2017-19)
Alia Mossallam is interested in songs that tell stories and stories that tell of popular struggles behind the better-known events that shape world history. For her PhD she researched a popular history of Nasserist Egypt through the stories and experiences of the popular resistance in Port Said (1956) and Suez (1967-1974) and the construction of the Aswan High Dam through the experiences of its builders and the Nubian communities displaced by it. In her interest to make her research accessible to wider publics in various formats, she has tried her hand at playwriting with David Grieg, Hassan El-Geretly, Laila Soliman and written her first short-story “Rawi” with 60 Pages. She strove to create more spaces for history-telling through the site-specific public history project “Ihky ya Tarikh”, in Aswan, Port Said, Alexandria and Cairo. She has taught at the American University in Cairo, CILAS, and the Freie Universität in Berlin. Some of her writings can be found in The Journal of Water History, The History Workshop Journal, Jadaliyya, Ma’azif, Bidayat and Mada Masr.
Alia Mossallam is currently a EUME Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin and a visiting scholar of the Lautarchiv at Humboldt-Universität Berlin.
We would recommend to view the films in preparation for the seminar:
Omar Amiralay, Film Essay on the Euphrates Dam (محاولة عن سد الفرات)
(1970, 12 minutes)
Omar Amiralay, A Flood in the Baath Country (طوفان في بلاد البعث)
(2003, 48 minutes)
In accordance with the measures against the spread of the coronavirus, this seminar session will be held virtually via ZOOM. Please register in advance via eume(at)trafo-berlin.de to receive the login details. Depending on approval by the speakers, the Berliner Seminar will be recorded. All audio recordings of the Berliner Seminar are available via the account of the Forum Transregionale Studien on SoundCloud.