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What does it mean to be cosmopolitan? To be a crossroads, a gathering place, a center for world commerce? 

Explore the meaning of Dubai as a nation-state at the crossroads of the world, gathering people together from around the world. Much like Syros in ancient Greece was once at the center of world commerce, Dubai has evolved into a twenty-first-century nexus for new cosmopolitanisms.  

Both as a port and desert city, Adrianne Kalfopoulou imagines how Dubai has projected itself onto these screens as an idea for the future — and the present. By exploring the development of Dubai both through the lens of philosophers like Baudrillard and his “hyperreal” as well as by digging into the city’s history, from its collapse as a pearl-diving mecca through its complex evolution into a member state of the United Arab Emirates.  


On The Gaze: Dubai and its new Cosmopolitanisms fleshes out the story of Dubai, revealing it through multiple gazes. Kalfopoulou’s evocative writing and inward searching brings readers along as she examines what Dubai means to her, to the Arab world, and to the world as a whole. “We follow Kalfopoulou’s multiple gazes—temporal, abstract, theoretical, and personal—and journey with her from Dubai’s humble beginnings as a port village to its evolution as a global city of the digital age. The book abounds in honest and vivid portraits of people and places written in beautifully crafted prose. A very welcome addition to the growing body of anglophone literature on the Arabian Gulf.” – Yahya Haidar, editor and translator, Al-Din, A Prolegomenon to the Study of the History of Religions 


Listen to Adrianne Kalfopoulou share about On the Gaze

On The Gaze: Dubai and Its New Cosmopolitanisms

  • ESSAYS/ Cultural Studies

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