Academia
Corporate Urbanization: Between the Future and Survival in Lebanon
2018

If you look today at the skyline of downtowns throughout the Middle East and beyond, the joint- stock corporation has transformed the urban landscape. The corporation makes itself present through the proliferation of its urban mega-projects, including skyscrapers, downtown developments and gated communities; retail malls and artificial islands; airports and ports; and highways. Built into these corporate urban structures are edifices of politics, ideology and certain forms of socio-spatial and temporal organization. The corporation, however, has largely escaped critical scholarly analysis in Geography and/or Urban and Middle East Studies. In this thesis, I argue that the corporation is far more than a mere business enterprise and is in fact one of the most important apparatuses in the organization of our socio-spatial relations. Through an analysis of the 19th-century French joint-stock corporation, Compagnie Impériale Ottomane de la Route Beyrouth-Damas, and Solidere the corporation that led the reconstruction of Beirut following the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1991), this thesis considers and explores the force of the corporation in assembling socio-spatial relations and certain urban futures. Drawing on work in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Geography, I consider the process of capitalization, which is central to how the corporation organizes its operations. Capitalization represents the present value of a future stream of earnings. I argue that capitalization is now central to the urbanization process and that the urban fabric has provided the corporation with a durable structure to guarantee a stream of income. Capitalized urbanization, I contend, is the building of a certain future into the urban present - also understood as the extension of time (the future) through the concentration of space (urbanization). It is therefore not only an economic proposition but one that necessitates broader socio-political and spatial control.

https://academicworks.cuny.edu/gc_etds/2909/
Deen Shariff Sharp Academia
Difference as practice: Diffracting geography and the area studies turn

2018

After decades of geography and area studies drifting apart, I argue there has been an area studies turn in geography. The long divergence between the two, however, has resulted in a certain misunderstanding by geographers of what area studies scholarship is and what this field can contribute to the discipline. Area studies should not be considered as an approach that merely concentrates on the representation of difference but rather as a milieu in which difference is practiced and geographical concepts can be ‘diffracted’. Area studies can offer geography new ways to think about its place in, and entanglement with, the world.
Deen Shariff Sharp Academia
Beyond the Square: Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings
2016

Focuses on the urban spatial dynamics of the mass protest movements that have convulsed the Arab region since December 2010. The volume shifts attention away from public squares — and in particular Tahrir Square in Cairo — to consider the broader urban context in which the uprisings unfolded and how it has intersected with the events themselves. The essays are topically and geographically diverse, exploring a range of sociospatial phenomena in countries that have been at the heart of the Arab uprisings as well as those countries that have appeared peripheral to the regional upheaval. This breadth of perspective highlights the centrality of space and spatial concerns to the ongoing political transformations in the region. In this way, the volume provides a distinctive — and critical — analysis of one of the most signi cant political events of our time.
Deen Shariff Sharp Academia
Urbicide and the Arrangement of Violence in Syria

2016

The concept of urbicide can be broadly understood as the deliberate destruction of the built environment. It is among the central analytics through which contemporary work in political geography has sought to move beyond the idea that such destruction results simply from the evil inherent in conflict. As Martin Coward has observed, the term has been deployed to resist placing the large-scale destruction of the built environment into the “conceptual dustbin” of “wanton destruction” (Coward 2009: 23). I argue that urbicide is the violent imposition of, or struggle for, urban arrangements meant to fix a given urban environment into a homogenized ethnic and/or political enclave.
Deen Shariff Sharp Academia
Lebanon and the fog of reconstruction

2018

The Man with the Golden Shoes [al-rajel du al-na'l al- dabī] (2000) is a documentary by the late Syrian director Omar Amiraley . The film provides a portrait of the former Prime Minister and architect of Lebanon’s post-war “reconstruction,” Rafik Hariri . It opens with a clip of a 10-story building in downtown Beirut collapsing from
an explosion . The building’s ruin is not by conflict but reconstruction, the planned detonation of dynamite at the structures foundation . A large cloud of dust rises from the collapsed building and the screen is engulfed in the fog of reconstruction . In Lebanon, the fogs of war and reconstruction have at times been difficult to distinguish .
Deen Shariff Sharp Academia
The Urbanization of Power and the Struggle for the City

2018

Introduction to MERIP issue "Cities Lost and Remade"

The Middle East is one of the most urbanized and urbanizing regions in the world. The proliferation of urban megaprojects, skyscrapers, gated communities, retail malls, airports, ports and highways continues unabated. From 2006 to 2016, cement production almost doubled in the region’s major cement producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia (from 27 to 61 million tons), Egypt (29 to 55 million) and Turkey (47 to 77 million). [1] The majority of production is aimed at domestic markets. Saudi Arabia from 2008 to 2016 even banned the export of cement to ensure lower domestic prices for the government’s large infrastructure projects.
Deen Shariff Sharp Academia In Suicide and Agency Anthropological Perspectives on Self-Destruction, Personhood, and Power. Broz, Ludek and Daniel Münster, eds. London: Ashgate.
Dying to Live in Palestine: Steadfastness, Pollution and Embodied Space

2015
In Suicide and Agency Anthropological Perspectives on Self-Destruction, Personhood, and Power. Broz, Ludek and Daniel Münster, eds. London: Ashgate.

Through tracing the occupied body at an extreme moment of violence, we argue that suicide attacks within the Palestinian-Israeli context can be understood beyond the binaries of an act of futile self-destruction or a heroic act of resistance. We view them as an act located in the space in-between resistance and submission. Moreover, this chapter contributes to theoretical understandings of embodied space and pollution. Specifically, we detail the ability of the body to pollute, symbolically and materially, and to communicate beyond its integral unit.
Deen Shariff Sharp Academia
In the Presence of Absence: The Arab Uprisings

2016

In this chapter I ask, what are the Arab uprisings? I contend that we do not have a firm understanding of the Arab uprisings and that without this comprehension it appears premature to declare their end. In addressing why the Arab uprisings emerged a number of scholars have focused on questions related to the political economy of the region. Critical scholars have been attentive to the calls for bread, freedom and social justice and have argued that it was the inability to live a dignified life that drove the peoples of the Arab world to protest. I focus on this inability to live a dignified life and turn to the concept of absence to think through this moment more carefully. Absence, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a state or condition in which something expected or wanted is not present or does not exist. The Arab uprisings, I argue, were first and foremost about a response to absence and principally an absence of justice. In explaining the Arab uprisings through the concept of absence I turn to the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and his seminal text In the Presence of Absence. For Darwish absence is not the opposite of presence, he pushes beyond polarities in his writing: He searches for comprehensions of life that do not render it the opposite of death and beginnings that are not framed in opposition to ends. Through the work of Darwish, I argue that the Arab uprisings are not a beginning but an intensification of the prolonged and episodic endeavor to establish the ability to live a dignified life.

Deen Shariff Sharp Academia
Jadaliyya

2012 - Current

The Arab Center for Architecture (ACA): Interview with George Arbid

September 29th, 2015

Constellations: Searching for the Global Suburb

November 20th, 2013

Beware of Small Cities

September 6th, 2012

Urbanism and the Arab Uprising: Downtown Cairo and the fall of Mubarak
[Translated into Arabic]

August 6th [September 6th] 2012

The End(s) of Stability

May 8th, 2012
Deen Shariff Sharp Academia Arab Studies Journal
Street Life: Rebels, Rulers, and the Right to the City

Spring 2013
Arab Studies Journal

Review essay on:
Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution
by David Harvey
Dubai: The City as Corporation
by Ahmed Kanna
Deen Shariff Sharp Academia Paper Presented: The Urban Arab Uprisings
Urban Uprising!: Global Urban Uprisings
November 30 2012
Paper Presented: The Urban Arab Uprisings

In the wake of the 2008 explosion of the current economic crisis, more and more people are actively fighting to restore what they've lost. Not since the ‘60s have so many people across the globe taken to the streets to demand a more just and democratic society, access to housing, health care, education, food, jobs, a clean and safe environment and lives free from police violence. Most of these uprisings are rooted in the urban landscape. Many of their demands imply a major transformation in the way our cities work. During this time of crisis and mobilization, it's important that we ask ourselves: What kind of city do we want to see?

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