A Brief History of the Future of Culture in Egypt

This essay offers a brief intellectual history of the discourse surrounding “the future of culture” in Egypt. Starting with reflections on the future of the official cultural apparatus after the 2011 revolution, the essay moves on to three significant moments in the longer history of such reflections, each with its own set of concerns. These concerns range from culture and globalization in the 1990s and early 2000s, to cultural planning and development in the 1960s and 1970s, to culture and education in the wake of Taha Hussein’s The Future of Culture in Egypt (1938). Such changing concerns show how the so-called “future of culture” changes in different historical circumstances, while conceptions of culture remain tied to changing imaginaries of the nation-state.