Land in Revolt

Eco-criticism and the Roots of Resistance

In: Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication
View More View Less
  • 1 Concordia University
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



In this article, I examine the politicization of natural resources like water and land, and the wider entanglement of environments and politics, in Egyptian cinematic imaginaries. I focus on Youssef Chahine’s film al-Ard (The land, 1969) and its politicization of agricultural land during the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser (1954–1970) and the British colonial occupation of Egypt (1882–1956). Because histories of colonialism and nationalism in the Arab world are rooted in the economic and political exploitation of material resources (including land, water, and people), I draw on eco-criticism as a method of critical reading to analyze the film’s depictions of these configurations of political power and resource management. I argue that al-Ard roots its depiction of the resistance of the Egyptian peasantry (fellahin) in environmental terms, namely, restrictions to resource access and the affective relationships of the peasants to the land. By tracing these imbrications, I seek to relocate environmental concerns in scholarship on political resistance with reference to Nasser-era cinema.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 508 163 4
Full Text Views 68 14 1
PDF Views & Downloads 83 40 3