This thesis seeks to outline the philosophy and purpose of anarchism through an interdisciplinary approach that involves literature and film. The main argument is that anarchism, apart from the moral connotations that have accrued to the term, maintains the idea of the inherent natural balance or equilibrium among cosmic powers. This idea grounds the theory of anarchism in the political sphere and helps us understand how anarchism can be applied to the sphere of culture. By considering both theory and practice in the anarchist tradition, the thesis proposes to redefine anarchism through an interdisciplinary approach that examines the philosophical history of anarchism from Plato to Kristeva and also discusses Youssef Ziedan’s novel, Azazeel, and Charles Chaplin’s film, The Great Dictator, as anarchist works. In the latter context, Azazeel is shown to provide an alternative history of ancient Alexandria, while The Great Dictator offers a modern illustration of anarchism as a practical, humanist ideology.


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2016

First Advisor

Melaney, William

Committee Member 1

Ghazoul, Ferial

Committee Member 2

Abdel Nasser, Tahia


46 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


Foremost, I would like to thank my advisor, Professor William Melaney, who not only supported me during the thesis writing stage but taught me so much about philosophy and literary criticism since I became a graduate student at the American University in Cairo in 2011. In addition to my advisor, I would like to extend my thanks to the readers of my thesis, Professors Ferial Ghazoul and Tahia Abdel Nasser. I am profoundly grateful for their encouragement, insightful comments and academic support. My thanks to Mrs. Ola Shanab and Ms. Omneya Ali for attending to the paper work and other details that have been crucial since I registered my proposal. They made my life easier by helping me focus more strongly on my academic work. I also thank Professor Ira Dowrkin, who taught me how to be a professional student and supported the early stages of the thesis proposal, while also helping me understand the importance of research methods. Thanks as well to Professor Stephen Nimis, who believed in my thesis and encouraged me to discuss it in one of his own courses. And finally, thanks to my beloved family for their inspiration, and their support; my dear mother for the discussions, shared experiences and the sleepless nights before deadlines; my father for guiding me through ethics and bringing moral purpose to my life and studies. And, of course, above all thanks to Allah for giving me you all.