Nancy Reynolds

Nancy Reynolds

​Associate Professor of History, of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (Affiliate), and of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies (Affiliate)
Director of Graduate Studies in History and JIMES
PhD, Stanford University
MA, Stanford University
BA, Harvard University

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  • Wednesday
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM,
    or by appointment
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  • Washington University
    CB 1062
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

​Professor Reynolds has written extensively on 20th century Egyptian history. Her recent courses include "Egypt and the Arab Spring: Middle Eastern Revolution in Historical Perspective" and "Women in the Modern Middle East."



A City Consumed: Urban Commerce, the Cairo Fire, and the Politics of Decolonization in Egypt. Stanford University Press, 2012. (Winner of the 2013 Roger Owen Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association)


Selected Publications


“City of the High Dam: Aswan and the Promise of Postcolonialism in Egypt,” City & Society, vol. 29, no. 1 (April 2017): 213-235.

“States of Law and Sexuality in the Middle East,” Journal of Women’s History, vol. 27, no. 2 (summer 2015): 182-193.

“Beyond the Urban,” a contribution to the “Public Space Roundtable,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 46, no.1 (February 2014): 172-174. 

“Building the Past: Rockscapes and the Aswan High Dam in Egypt,” in Water on Sand: Environmental Histories of the Middle East and North Africa, edited by Alan Mikhail. Pp. 181-205 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

"Entangled Communities: Interethnic Relationships among Urban Salesclerks and Domestic Workers in Egypt, 1927-1961,” The European Review of History/Revue européenne d’histoire, vol. 19, no. 1, 113-139.

“Salesclerks, Sexual Danger, and National Identity in Egypt in the 1920s and 1940s,” Journal of Women’s History, vol. 23, no. 3 (Fall 2011): 63-88.

“National Socks and the ‘Nylon Woman’: Materiality, Gender, and Nationalism in Textile Marketing in Semicolonial Egypt, 1930-1956,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 43, no. 1 (February 2011): 49-74

“Sharikat al-Bayt al-Misri: Domesticating Commerce in Egypt, 1931-1956,” Arab Studies Journal, vol. 7.2/8.1 (Fall 1999/Spring 2000): 75-107.

“Economics: Advertising and Marketing: Egypt,” entry for Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, Volume 4, Suad Joseph et al (eds.), Leiden: Brill, 2006, 118-120



The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship, January to December 2012, For the project “The Politics of Environment, Culture, and National Development in the Building of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt, 1956-1971”

Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grant for Research in European, African, or Asian History, 2010, The American Historical Association

Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford University.

Social Science Research Council Dissertation Research Fellowship for the Social Sciences and Humanities.



Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2016-18. For the project: “Grounding the Ecocritical: Materializing Wastelands and Living on in the Middle East”; with Dr. Anne-Marie McManus.

Arts and Sciences Summer 2016 Collaborative Seed Grant, Washington University, 2016.
For the project: “Wasteland Literacies”; with Dr. Anne-Marie McManus.

Mellon New Directions Fellowship, 2014-2016; deferred to begin in 2017.
For the project, “Heat: Recent Egyptian Histories.”

Faculty Seminar Grant, Center for the Humanities, Washington University, 2014-2017.
For “Wastelands,” co-convened with Dr. Anne-Marie McManus.

Since 1948: Israeli Literature in the Making

Since 1948: Israeli Literature in the Making

Toward the end of the twentieth century, an unprecedented surge of writing altered the Israeli literary scene in profound ways. As fresh creative voices and multiple languages vied for recognition, diversity replaced consensus. Genres once accorded lower status—such as the graphic novel and science fiction—gained readership and positive critical notice. These trends ushered in not only the discovery and recovery of literary works but also a major rethinking of literary history. In Since 1948, scholars consider how recent voices have succeeded older ones and reverberated in concert with them; how linguistic and geographical boundaries have blurred; how genres have shifted; and how canon and competition have shaped Israeli culture. Charting surprising trajectories of a vibrant, challenging, and dynamic literature, the contributors analyze texts composed in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Arabic; by Jews and non-Jews; and by Israelis abroad as well as writers in Israel. What emerges is a portrait of Israeli literature as neither minor nor regional, but rather as transnational, multilingual, and worthy of international attention.

A City Consumed

A City Consumed

Though now remembered as an act of anti-colonial protest leading to the Egyptian military coup of 1952, the Cairo Fire that burned through downtown stores and businesses appeared to many at the time as an act of urban self-destruction and national suicide. The logic behind this latter view has now been largely lost. Offering a revised history, Nancy Reynolds looks to the decades leading up to the fire to show that the lines between foreign and native in city space and commercial merchandise were never so starkly drawn.
Consumer goods occupied an uneasy place on anti-colonial agendas for decades in Egypt before the great Cairo Fire. Nationalist leaders frequently railed against commerce as a form of colonial captivity, yet simultaneously expanded local production and consumption to anchor a newly independent economy. Close examination of struggles over dress and shopping reveals that nationhood coalesced informally from the conflicts and collaboration of consumers "from below" as well as more institutional and prescriptive mandates.