The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

GC Events

10/25 – Radius: A Story of Feminist Revolution

In 2012, the joyful hopes of the democratic Egyptian Revolution were tempered by revelations of mass sexual assault in Tahrir Square in Cairo, the revolution’s symbolic birthplace.

Radius: A Story of Feminist Revolution

A Book Conversation between Author Yasmin El-Rifae and Professors Lucia Sorbera and Maria Malmström

Tuesday, October 25 at 5 PM:

Room 9206, GC CUNY (365 5th Avenue, New York NY 10016)

This is the story of the women and men who formed Opantish—Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment—who deployed hundreds of volunteers, scouts rescue teams, and getaway drivers to intervene in the spiraling cases of sexual violence against women protesters in the square. Organized and led by women during 2012–2013—the final, chaotic months of Egypt’s revolution—teams of volunteers fought their way into circles of men to pull the woman at the center to safety. Often, they risked assault themselves.

NOTE: To attend in person if not a Graduate Center student or faculty, please RSVP at

Yasmin El-Rifae is a writer and editor in Cairo and New York. She works with Mada Masr in Cairo and is a co-producer of the Palestine Festival of Literature. Her writing has appeared in the GuardianNationLuxLitHub, and Guernica.

Lucia Sorbera is Senior Lecturer and Chair of the Department of Arabic Language and Cultures at the University of Sydney, which is built on land stolen from the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. She studies the colonial and post-colonial history of the Arab World and Africa, with a focus on women and gender. Dr. Sorbera has published widely in history of Egyptian feminism, women’s political activism, and cultural productions in the Arab world. She is currently writing a monograph for UC Press, tentatively titled Biography of a Revolution. Feminist Lives in Egypt, and she recently curated with Aymon Kreil and Serena Tolino the volume Sex and Desire in Muslim Cultures. Beyond Norms and Transgression from the Abbasids to the Present. Day (I.B. Tauris, 2021).

Maria Frederika Malmström is Associate Professor in Social Anthropology and Research Fellow at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in London working on a research project begun in 2018 which focuses on Making and Unmaking Masculinities and Religious Identities through the Politics of the Ear in Egypt. She is the author to The Streets are Talking to Me: Affective Fragments in Sisi’s Egypt. Maria Frederika Malmström is also a Visiting Research Scholar in the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center, Graduate Center, CUNY, New York City.

This event will also be hosted on Zoom for those who cannot attend in-person: