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Leila Abdel Rahim

contact: leila.ar2011@gmail.com


. What:

Culture, literature, comparative methods in research, anthropology, 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 2013 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: 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:

Book Launch: Video, Sunday, 19th May, 2013


. Order and the Literary Rendering of Chaos: Children’s Literature as Knowledge, Culture and Social Foundation. Doctoral research (2002-present)

. 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

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


*Modernism and Education: Revised Perspectives”

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


  • 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.

Appearances in media:

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

Talks and Presentations:

  • “The Ship of Fools: “, lecture at the Department of Geography, University of Victoria, B.C., October, 2013.

. “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.

. Anarchy Radio, University of Oregon, Eugene, KWVA. Tue. 7th February 2012. Wylden Freeborne introduces me on the 20th minute mark.

. “The Failure of Civilized OccupyInterview for Deep Green Philly on 8th December 2011 . Excerpt submitted for Occupy Philly Media on 10th December 2011.

. “Primitivism 101” on Deep Green Philly, 4th May 2011.

. “Will Civilize for Food on BURN radio podcast, 26th September 2010.

. “Naked Wildness” on BURN radio podcast, 6th September 2010.

. “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.

. “Tell these Stories to your children” – a 90 minutes shared panel with biblical scholar Wes Howard-Brook at the conference “In the beginning: Anarchism, Christianity, and the roots of resistance“, Portland, OR 6th-7th August 2010.

. Respondent to “Race, Racism, and the Nation-State: A Christian-Anarchist Perspective” presentation by Nekeisha Alexis-Baker, Jesus Radicals Conference, Portland, OR; 6th August 2010.

. Proposed, presented, and led the Open Forum discussion, titled: “Anarchy for All: Expanding the Horizons of Practice Beyond Privilege”.

. Response to Critiques of Avatar on Questions of Scientism and Racism – text plus radio talk

.” Literacy of the Oppressed: Structural Violence and Children’s Books“. Lecture delivered as a guest speaker for the course EDEC 249: Global Education and Social Justice, Prof. Aziz Choudry, Department of Eduction, McGill University; 1st October 2009

. Digby Highschool: two 45 minute talks addressed to 11th and 12th grades; 2nd September 2009

. “A Lullaby for the Planet: Undressing Ourselves for a Viable Parenthood“. New Heaven, New Earth conference; Memphis, TN. 15th August 2009 (video will soon be available: for a review, see issue 4 of In the Land of the Living by Andy Lewis)

. Open Forum: Layla AbdelRahim and John Zerzan respond (total time: 1hour and 51 minutes).

. Interviewed by Andy Lewis for Issue #4 of In the Land of the Living

. 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

. In the Motherhood, CKUT radio talk show, hosted by Trixie Dumont; McGill University, Montreal, QC. Discussed J. Wall’s memoir, The Glass Castle”: 19th March 2008

. In Praise of the Wild: Discussion of Jeanette Walls’ “The Glass Castle; a response essay to the radio discussion; 21st March 2008.

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)

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)


. “Education as the Domestication of Inner Space”,

. Avatar: An Anarcho-Primitivist Picture of the History of the World plus

a response on scientism and racism on Radio Anarchy, 26th January 2010.

. In Praise of the Wild: addendum and reflections

. The Nature of Mind Destruction.

. On Objects, Love and Objectifications.

Drama and other writing

. Naked Supper (drama)

. Red Delicious (drama) also published as e-book in: In the Land of the Living

. Ladies and Gentlemen, We’ve Got Him (drama)

. Kaleidoscope; Collected Essays on Literary Theory and Culture


. 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.


Available upon request


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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
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