CILAS Thematic Courses (April-June 2018)
Now Accepting applications for third trimester Thematic Courses. Deadline for applying is 25th of March.

*courses run for ten weeks from 1st of April to the 31st of May 2018
*course fees: 1000 L.E

Introducing CILAS
The Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences CILAS invites students from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds to engage with the liberal arts through a pedagogy of discovery. CILAS hosts a dynamic, discussion-based learning environment conducive to creative inquiry, self-reflection, and civic engagement. Co-creation of knowledge at CILAS is fostered through classroom discussion and debate, workshops, musical performances, guest lectures, field visits, cooking, laughing, and listening.

التعريف بسيلاس:
سيلاس، يدعو الطلبة من مختلف الخلفيات الاجتماعية والأقتصادية و الثقافية للتعرف على الفنون الحرة من خلال نظرية تعليم مبنية على الاكتشاف. سيلاس توفر مناخ تعليمي حيوي مبنى على النقاش يساعد على التسأول الابداعي، التأمل الذاتي و المشاركة المدنية. انتاج المعرفة التشاركي في سيلاس يتم دعمه من خلال المناقشات في الفصول الدراسية والورش و العروض الموسيقية و المحاضرين الزائرين و الزيارات الميدانية والطبخ و الضحك و الاستماع.

The Thematic Courses
thematic courses are offered during trimesters two and three. A thematic course is of a duration of ten weeks and is scheduled once a week, both in the morning from 10am to 1:00pm or in the evening from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Thematic courses emerge from the four fields of study. Like the core curriculum, thematic courses relate and seek to respond to the rapidly evolving social, cultural, and civic settings that students act within.

المساقات النوعية
المساقات النوعية يتم تقديمها في الفصلين الدراسيين الثاني و الثالث. مدة كل مساق دراسي 10 اسابيع و تقام الجلسات مرة اسبوعيا في الصباح من ال 10 حتى 1:00 مساءا و في المساء من 5:30 مساءا حتى 8:30 مساءا. تنبثق المساقات النوعية من الاربع حقول الدراسية في سيلاس (الانسانيات - الفنون - العلوم الاجتماعية - العلوم الطبيعية). كما يجري الحال في المنهج الأساسي، تنظر المساقات النوعية إلى الإطارات الثقافية، الاجتماعية و الظروف التي يمر بها و يتفاعل معها الطلاب

A pedagogical approach to sustainable architecture: historicizing and documenting the case of New Gourna​​
Offered by Sama Waly & Rodrigo Brum
On Thursday mornings from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and evenings from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy (1900 - 1989) is internationally renowned, although not without his critics, as a pioneer in sustainable architecture. His rise to fame came mainly as a result of the publication of a book, wherein Fathy recounted his experience of designing the model village of New Gourna in Luxor following a commission by the Egyptian Department of Antiquities. The first edition of the book ​“Gourna: A Tale of Two Villages ​” was published in Cairo, in 1969. It was translated a year later to French under the title ​“Construire avec le peuple” (“To build with the people”)​. In 1973, a second edition was issued by University of Chicago Press and entitled ​“Architecture for the Poor: An Experiment in Rural Egypt”​. An arabic translation finally appeared in 1993, taking on the title ​‘Umaret Al-Fuqara’​(ءاﺮﻘﻔﻟا ةرﺎﻤﻋ).

"As my proposals chiefly concern the peasant, my book is dedicated to him. I wish that it could have been addressed exclusively to him, and hope the time will soon come when he will be able to read and judge it [...]",​​writes Fathy in the preface.

This course aims to materialise Fathy’s dream by reading and discussing the problematics of ​“Gourna: A Tale of Two Villages”​with local inhabitants and builders currently working on the preservation of the model village. We will begin the course in Cairo, over the first nine weeks, to critique key issues in Fathy’s vision in its historical context, and plan our weeklong module to be implemented in Gourna, Luxor. Once there, we will meet local participants daily, host collective readings of key passages, and activate the village with film screenings and other activities.

The course proposes a twofold vision, firstly to foster a discussion-based learning environment, to historicize and shed light on the crises of pedagogy and sustainable architecture in rural Egypt, and secondly to encourage creative strategies of documentation, using audiovisual means. Students can apply to the pedagogical track (​Group A​) or to the documentation track (​Group B​).

Group A​will read and discuss key concepts pertaining to Fathy’s proposal for a sustainable architectural solution in rural Egypt. Discussions and readings will be mainly in Arabic.

Group B​will prepare strategies for audiovisual documentation, in preparation to shoot and record the Luxor module.
Discussions and readings will be mainly in English.

The class is open to those interested in sustainable design, audiovisual documentation, and their relation to alternative pedagogical models. We encourage architects, artists, social workers, academics, and amateurs, from Egypt and abroad, to apply.


Students must be available during the travel dates to Luxor (check the schedule below).

Please, fill out and send the ​Sign up sheet​to ​​and ​​​​prior to the start of classes.
- Students are required to sign a​​Release Form​, indicating that they agree to be filmed for the purpose of documenting the course and perhaps be included in a documentary film (co-directed by Sama & Rodrigo), to be submitted on the first day of classes.

There will be an extra fee covering all travel and accommodation expenses to and from Luxor (approx. 1500 EGP)

(Hassan Fathy, ​Gourna: A Tale of Two Villages​, 1969, Cairo) 1993 , Cairo ءاﺮﻘﻔﻟا ةرﺎﻤﻋ ﻲﺤﺘﻓ ﻦﺴﺣ
(Hassan Fathy, ​The Story of Utopia​) c.1940s, Beirut. ﺎﯿﺑﻮﻃﻮﯾ ﺔﺼﻗ "ﻲﺤﺘﻓ ﻦﺴﺣ"

Paulo Freire, ​Pedagogy of the Oppressed​, 2005, Continuum Publishing (NYC), pp. TBA

- Ahmed Ezzat Abdel-Kerim, ​Tareekh Al-Ta’leem fi masr (History of Education in Egypt)​, ﻲﻓ ﻢﯿﻠﻌﺘﻟا ﺦﯾرﺎﺗ ,ﻢﯾﺮﻜﻟاﺪﺒﻋ تﺰﻋ ﺪﻤﺣأ ﺮﺼﻣ Cairo: The General Organisation for Cultural Palaces, 2011. pp. TBA

- Hana Taragan, ​Architecture in Fact and fiction: the case of the New Gourna village in Upper Egypt​, Muquarnas, 1996

- Timothy Mitchell, ​Rule of Experts Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity​,​University of California Press, 2002, ​Ch. 6 “​Heritage and Violence”


“الجبل”​(​The Mountain​) by Khalil Shawqi, Egypt, Arabic, 1965 (​Based on the novella by Fathi Ghanim (b. 1923))
”​​(“​The Mummy”)​ by Shady Abdelsalam ,​Egypt, Arabic 1969اﻟﻤﻮﻣﯿﺎء,” ﺷﺎدي ﻋﺒﺪاﻟﺴﻼم

” وﺻﯿﺔ رﺟﻞ ﺣﻜﯿﻢ ﻓﻲ ﺷﺌﻮن اﻟﻘﺮﯾﺔ واﻟﺘﻌﻠﯿﻢ” إﺧﺮاج داود ﻋﺒﺪ اﻟﺴﯿﺪ

(​Advice from a wise man on rural education)​,​Daoud Abdel Sayed, Egypt, Arabic, 1976.

”ﻻ ﯾﻜﻔﻲ أن ﯾﻜﻦ اﷲ ﻣﻊ اﻟﻔﻘﺮاء”​ إﺧﺮاج ﺑﺮﻫﺎن ﻋﻠﻮﯾﺔ 1978

(Il ne suffit pas que Dieu soit avec les Pauvres / It’s not enough for God to be with the Poor), Bourhan Alaouié,
France, French (English or Arabic subtitles).

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