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Leila Abdel Rahim

contact: leila.ar2011@gmail.com


. What:

Civilisation, anthropology, literature, comparative methods in research, systems of knowledge, creative writing

. Where:

in Western Civilisation, Russian (and Slavic) Culture, North East African society (but have lived on 5 continents and hence familiar with other places too).


Ph.D. (with excellence) in Comparative Literature

University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada (2011) Dissertation: Order and the Literary Rendering of Chaos: Children’s Literature as knowledge, culture and social foundation.

External Examiner: Jack Zipes .

Published by Routledge 2015 under the title of: “Children’s Literature, Domestication, and Social Foundation: Narratives of Civilization and Wilderness“.



M.A. in Social Sciences with extra courses in anthropology (completed course requirements for a second masters in anthropology)

Stockholm University, Sweden (1996) Thesis: War, Slut, Autumn, and Others: The Portrayal and Participation of Women in Russian Rock Music.

B.A. with thesis in Comparative Literature

Bryn Mawr College, PA, U.S.A. (1989-93) Thesis: Construction of Identity in Emergent Literatures: Nationalism Written in the Language of the Colonizer by Chingiz Aitmatov and Tahar Ben Jelloun.


Civil Engineering (3 years); Equivalent A-levels in additional maths and physics; Fine Arts (2 years); Graduate courses in sociology at l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales in Paris (1993-94); Theatre, Avignon, France (summer 1993); Summer programme on Francophone literature and culture at University Laval, Quebec (1991); Administrative skills


Native fluency: English, Russian

Fluent: Arabic, French, Swedish

Comprehension of and reading skills in: Latin, Italian, Serbo-Croatian, German, and basic Japanese.


.Young People’s Literature and Theatre, department of Modern Languages, UQTR (3 crédits)

.20th century American Literature, department of Modern Languages, University of Quebec in Trois Rivieres (UQTR) (3 crédits)



. Thomas J. Watson Foundation fellowship (1993-94)

. Bryn Mawr College, Full scholarship, 4 years B.A. programme (1989-93)

. Alliance Française, Philadelphia scholarship for excellence in French (1991)

. Bryn Mawr scholarship for summer theatre programme in Avignon (1993)

. Bryn Mawr scholarship for study of Francophone literature and culture at Université Laval, Quebec (Summer 1991)

Painting National and International prizes

Sports National and international awards in show jumping. Member of the Sudanese National Equestrian (show jumping) team (1978-88)



Peer reviewed BOOKS:

    1. Czech translation of the excerpt “On Colonization“.


    1. Book Launch: Video, Sunday, 19th May, 2013
    2. Book review by Rosalind Hampton


  • Early Child Development and Children’s Literature. Research conducted in Tver, Moscow, and the Golden Ring cities. Collected 1000s of slides on Soviet children’s stories, art, cartoons and children’s books in various languages. Wrote several essays on education – see publications below (1998-2002)
  • Researcher based at CEIFO (the Centre for International Migration and Ethnic Relations Studies), department of Anthropology, Stockholm University (1996-98)

Conducted anthropological research on the following projects:

. Immigrant Women in the Swedish Labour Market (1997-98)

. The Encounter. Socio-medical anthropological research ordered by Socialstyrelsen (the Swedish Board for Health & Social Affairs) on the encounter of notions of health and illness between immigrants and social and medical workers in Stockholm (1996-1998).

  • Cultural Identity of Muslim Women in Europe in Russia, France, Sweden, and Great Britain. Fellowship: Thomas J. Watson Foundation, R.I., U.S.A. (1993-94)
  • Intermittent investigations into nationalist movements in the former Soviet Union and East Africa (1986-93)



Peer reviewed PAPERS and ESSAYS:

  • “Definitions and Implications in Children’s Books: from Christopher Robin’s Scientific Expotition with Piglets, Rabbits, and Winnie the Pooh to the Violent Science of Harry Potter and the Order of the Chosen Wizards”. Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Honolulu, Hawaii 9th-12th January 2009
  • “Learning in the Age of the Smart Machine or the Proportionate Relationship between Intelligence and Empathy: from Case Study to a Theory of Practice in Anthropology of Education”. Hawaii International Conference on Education, Honolulu, Hawaii 4th-7th January 2009.

* “Crime and Punishment in Children’s Literature”

*On Objects, Love, and Objectifications” (originally published online on this website in January 2003)

. also published in The Paulinian Compass. St. Paul University; Manila: Vol. 1, Issue #2, June 2009

. also published atTHE ANTHROPOLOGY OF RADICAL DISSENT“, June 2004

*Modernism and Education: Revised Perspectives” (originally published online on this website in May 2003)

. also published in The Paulinian Compass. St. Paul University; Manila: Vol. 1, Issue #3, Fall 2009

. also published atTHE ANTHROPOLOGY OF RADICAL DISSENT“, June 2004

  • Conference: Off to See the Wizard: Quests for Memory and Culture in Children’s Literature, at Monroe College, Rochester, NY. Presented paper (19th March 2005). Title: Order & the literary rendering of Chaos in children’s literature.




  • In Praise of the Wild“: addendum to and reflections on the radio panel discussion of Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle (CKUT March 2008). 


Drama and other writing

  • Naked Supper (drama)


Appearances in media:

  • AnOther Story of Progress – a documentary film on civilisation and resistance.


Invited Talks and Presentations:

  • “Women’s Education for a Sustainable World”. Keynote Speaker and opened the ceremony for the Science, Art, and Sustainability Project at Vanitha College (the oldest and most prestigious women’s college in India), Hyderabad, 9th August 2016 3pm.
  • “Epistemology and Engineering: a Critique of Narratives and Civilization”. Invited public lecture for the academic staff of the CK Reddy College of Engineering and Technology, Hyderabad, open to all disciplines, but mostly attended by professors from engineering (bio-engineering included), environmental, physics, and architecture departments. The lecture addressed the ways in which the various underlying principles of civilization and wilderness affect cultural practices pertaining to the utilization of space, 10th August 2016.
  • “Sociology as a Narrative of Civilization”. Department of Sociology, Osmania University, Hyderabad. Invited lecture on the underlying premises in sociology, anthropocentrism, violence, and ecocide. 9th August 2016 10 am.
  • “Critique of Civilization and Prospects of Education in an Imperilled World”. 5th Orientation Course for Furthering Professionalization of Educators. Invited lecture for professors at Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, on the importance of critique of civilization across academic disciplines for a new and viable educational model. 8th August 2016.
  • “Epistemology, Civilization, and the Roots of War”. Public lecture at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. 4th August 2016.
  • “Civilization and Patriarchy: The Domestication of Sex and the Origins of Gender”. Invited speaker at Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Tapti Hostel Public Lecture series. In this lecture, Layla AbdelRahim proposes to examine gender as a necessary development of civilization that is rooted in the domestication of resources, in which the domesticator owns the product of human and nonhuman labor and controls their reproduction and sexuality. The civilized construct of gender has been a pivotal development in the creation of a social structure that legitimates violence and requires forcible reproduction of resources and the extermination of humans and nonhumans who are deemed useless or harmful for this system of ownership. To function as an institution, gender thus has been incorporated into the foundations of civilized epistemology and fuels our socio-environmental and economic paradigm. 3rd August 2016.
  • “Origin Stories and Political Paradigms”. Invited public lecture at the Department of Political Science, Delhi University. The lecture addresses the reification of fictional and scientific understanding of the origins of humanity and life. The spectrum of political and socio-economic paradigms in civilization share one element in common: an anthropocentric epistemology that normalizes and legitimates violent praxis against those defined as nonhuman in this system of knowledge. Furthermore, as a discipline, political science provides a narrative that institutionalizes the anthropocentric perspective and proliferates a socio-economic culture of growth on a finite planet.  3rd August 2016.
  • How Ivan the Fool Defeats Civilized Pedagogies- a Brown Bag Lunch Seminar series: Community, solidarity, and popular education: Confronting the national security state. Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University, 12:00pm Wednesday 8th February 2011.
  • Proposed and organised the Open Forum discussion, titled: “Anarchy for All: Expanding the Horizons of Practice Beyond Privilege”, at In the beginning: Anarchism, Christianity, and the Roots of Resistance conference, Portland, OR, August 2010.
  • Digby Highschool: two 45 minute talks addressed to 11th and 12th grades; 2nd September 2009


Stockholm University (1995-97):

“Gender & Islamic representations by literary authors and western anthropologists: Fazil Iskander, Chingiz Aitmatov, Tahar Ben Jelloun, and others.” . “Terms are germs – a critique of concepts and terminology in International Migration & Ethnic Relations studies.” . “Introduction to the particularities of Chilean and Eritrean Migration to Sweden.” . “Ethnicity, gender, and human rights: two case studies.”


Participation in conferences and workshops:

  • Stockholm University: Crime Prevention Association, Stockholm (April 1998) . Transformation of the Pluralist City, IMER (International Migration & Ethnic Relations Centre), Bergen, Norway (May 1997)
  • Sheba – an international conference on black minorities in Europe, Driebergen, Holland (March 1994)
  • London Black Women’s Health Project, London (April 1994)
  • Tattoos of Alienation, by Layla, Bryn Mawr Bulletin, Bryn Mawr, PA. (fall’95)


Radio and other interviews

  • The Roots of Oppression” – interviewed by Ron Lester Whyte at Deep Green Philly, Monday, 2nd November, 2015.
  • Civilized Racism Part 2 - revisiting my discussion of civilised spaces and the “open season” on Black and Brown people. Interviewed by Ron Lester Whyte, Deep Green Philly, 5th September, 2014.
  • Anarchy Radio, University of Oregon, Eugene, KWVA. Tue. 7th February 2012. Wylden Freeborne introduces me on the 20th minute mark.
  • The Failure of Civilized Occupy - Interview for Deep Green Philly on 8th December 2011 . Excerpt submitted for Occupy Philly Media on 10th December 2011.
  • “Radical Sustainability, Beyond Green Capitalism: Anarcho/a-Primitivism, Feminism and Christianity in Conversation for an Endangered World” – guest on a panel with John Zerzan and Ched Myers, organised by the In the Land of the Living Collective, held at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, Friday 1st – Saturday 2nd April 2011.
  • Anarchy Radio talk show hosted by John Zerzan, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, talked about the domestication of children and children’s literature: 17th February 2009


Reporter on war in North East Africa – Sudan Times (1987-88) 3 hour interview with guerrilla leader Col. John Garang in South Sudan was broadcast on BBC and Voice of America (August 1987)



. Part Time Lecturer Department of Modern Languages, University of Quebec at Trois Rivieres (UQTR) (January 2008)

. Researcher (1993-present)

. Private Consultant on pedagogical and cultural integration questions; e.g.: autonomous building of free learning curriculum, parenthood/childhood, adoption issues (2000-present)

. Academic Consultant & Editor -Tver InterContact, Tver, Russia. An exchange undergraduate programme in collaboration with Tver State University (1998-99)

. Editor – Maik Nauka Interperiodica, Moscow. A monthly journal on genetics (1998-99)

. Researcher – Ceifo (Centre for International Migration and Ethnic Relations), Department of Anthropology, Stockholm University (1996-98)

. Teacher of English, French and Russian languages to Keio University, Fujiswawa, Japan professors and students. Organized private classes and used interdisciplinary methods (references available upon request) (1994-95)

. Arts Editor The Spur a bi-monthly newspaper, Montgomery College, MD, USA (1988-89)

. Office Manager WADS (Water Assessment and Development Project, Sudan) at the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Khartoum. Settled Sudanese, Ethiopian and Eritrean refugee camps and worked on the first geo-hydrological map of Sudan (1987-88)

. Political Reporter Sudan Times, Khartoum (1987-88)

. Private tutoring English & Russian to professionals in Educational and Musical domains (1984-88)

. Administrative responsibilities at various “development” projects and businesses in Sudan – EDI (Energy Development International), WADS (Water Development Sudan), Reading & Bates, Toyo Menka Kaisha and Hilton (1982-87)

. Librarian at the Russian Dept. Library, University of Khartoum – two years (I was 15 years old)

Various jobs from the age of 10 years.



.Creative Writing

.Film and Theatre

. Dance: classical ballet, contemporary, Indian

. Animation: author and artistic consultant for both, the English and the Russian versions of: Pisanka: The seed of life, chosen at the animation film festival, Portugal, October 2005

.President of the Russian Cultural Club at Bryn Mawr College, 1991-93

.Equestrian: member of the Sudanese National Show Jumping team for over 10 years

.Travel: Travelled extensively in North East Africa, Eastern and Western Europe, North and Central America, Australia, and East Asia

. Travel Blog.



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  1. Comment by Cammarota:

    Wow, I’d like to get to know this lady, she’s done it all, she’s so learned and her interests so varied, some so close to mine… Feels just like I know you. Can I get a recent picture? Are you Madame or Mademoiselle ?
    Been there, done that, hunh ?
    Hugs from Omar

    August 22, 2007 @ 10:50 am
  2. Comment by Imyarek:

    You are a real dynamite. Wish you always to use your energy in the same way and to never betray your ideals for the rest of your life. Meanwhile, Is it possible to watch your interview with guerrilla leader Col. John Garang in South Sudan?
    Very interesting combination of talents in one person, you must be having very rich external representation?

    Long live Idealists!

    August 25, 2007 @ 9:31 pm
  3. Comment by marie-soleil dubois:

    I am pleased to have you as professor.
    I am really thankful for the knowledge that you transmitted to us. I am still questioning about different topics that you said. I read some of your essays available in your site and I am more puzzles about the way we perceive children and how we educate them. I will keep reading your essays since they are very interesting.
    Marie-Soleil Dubois

    March 28, 2008 @ 6:40 pm
  4. Comment by Eng.Ahmed:

    Dear ,
    I have read your reviews . Its very attractive.
    Why you don’t comment on J.K rolling who is the author of harry potter series ?
    Your name is Layla so Are You Egyptian ?
    why don’t you refer anything to Egypt?

    Thank You

    January 20, 2009 @ 4:15 am
  5. Comment by Bela:

    I am impressed at your curriculum. The cultural implications of making a human being are immense and complex, and so are the efforts to change the way our society thinks. Ecology doesn’t manifest itself simply through the appearance of cleanliness and health, but rather through the way we perceive and interact with our world. Having said that, you are quite right in pinpointing those crucial issues, and I wish you well in all your efforts.

    November 20, 2009 @ 3:04 pm
  6. Comment by layla:

    Bela, thank you for visiting the page and for your comment.

    I wonder, however, what do you mean when you refer to “the efforts to change the way our society thinks”. What would you like to change and what do you propose to replace that which you want to change?

    Also, it is not clear whether you are referring to the anthropological understanding of the notions of cleanliness and health (such as questioned by Mary Douglas, Natalia Molina, or Emily Martin, to cite a few examples) or whether you are talking about “clean” ecology as related to human concepts of hygiene.

    Once again, thank you for your comment.

    December 7, 2009 @ 8:57 pm
  7. Comment by layla:

    Ahmed, thank you for visiting the website and for your comment.
    If you have any interesting Egyptian children’s books that you can recommend, I’d be delighted to discover this literature.

    With regards to Rowling and her Harry Potter books, I do critique them and the violence which they depict and the hierarchical flow of violence from up down that these books promote and normalise. You can hear my critique on Zerzan’s radio talk show published on this website, as well as in my Memphis presentation, which video should be available in a couple of days. As soon as my articles are ready, I’ll post them here as well.
    All the best,

    December 7, 2009 @ 9:07 pm
  8. Pingback from Deep Green Philly » A Unique Critique of Occupy:

    [...] Unique Critique of Occupy Layla Abdel-Rahim brings her very unique perspective and critique to the Occupy movement. Born in Russia, she was [...]

    December 11, 2011 @ 5:19 pm
  9. Pingback from Deep Green Philly » Treyvon Martin & Civilized Racism:

    [...] Layla’s website [...]

    March 29, 2012 @ 7:01 pm
  10. Comment by John:

    Wow. You are an impressive woman. Any poetry? Seems like you would be writing poetry. :-)

    August 30, 2012 @ 12:54 am
  11. Comment by Isaiah:

    The work you have done is phenomenal.

    October 14, 2013 @ 11:19 pm
  12. Pingback from Deep Green Philly » Civilized Racism Pt. 2:

    […] Click here to visit Layla’s website […]

    September 5, 2014 @ 7:28 pm
  13. Pingback from Deep Green Philly » The Roots of Oppression:

    […] more information on Layla’s work and background, and to read excerpts from her latest books, click here to visit her […]

    November 3, 2015 @ 11:54 pm
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