Malak Labib

Wednesday, 13 February 2019, 5.00 pm - 6.30 pm |
Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

'From the Needle to the Rocket:' International Development, Social Engineering and the Politics of Economic Planning in Egypt (1941-1965)

Malak Labib
(EUME Fellow of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation 2018/19)

Chair: Görkem Akgöz
(re:work Fellow of the Gerda Henkel Foundation 2018/19)

Malak Labib’s current research project examines the history of development planning in Egypt (1941–1965), and considers this history under its various facets: both as a set of ideas, policies and practices. While the focus of much of the recent literature on the history of development has been on Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East has received less attention so far.
This research seeks to contribute a long-term history of development by exploring the links between the state- and economy-building projects at the end of empire, and the development strategies pursued by national elites in the 1950s and 1960s. In addition, Labib’s study explores the complex interactions between global and domestic forces in shaping the politics of development planning. In doing so, it seeks to move beyond nation-centered narratives about political economy and state formation in Egypt, while also moving beyond an understanding of development as a Western export. Finally, by examining the interactions between the myriad of actors involved in the elaboration and implementation of specific industrial projects, Labib’s study aims to contribute to a more complex, and less linear, understanding of the nature of the decolonizing state. In this presentation, Labib will present her ongoing research, preliminary results and will focus on a specific industrial project, the Egyptian Iron and Steel Company, as a way to examine the concrete dynamics of development planning.
This research is partly based on an oral history project conducted at the Economic and Business History Research Center (American University in Cairo).

Malak Labib
received her doctorate from Aix-Marseille University / Institut de Recherche sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman (2015) and her MA from Sciences Po Paris (2005). Her background is in History and Political Science. Her research interests cover the history knowledge and science, political economy and the history of development. In 2018, she was a CEDEJ/CNRS postdoctoral fellow. She taught at Aix-Marseille University, the American University in Cairo, and Cairo University. She has also been active in a number of alternative teaching initiatives in Egypt. From 2008 to 2010, she was a research fellow at the Economic and Business History Research Center of the American University in Cairo. During the academic year 2018/2019, she is a EUME Fellow funded by a Research Fellowship of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and associated with the Center for Global History at Freie Universität Berlin.