On the Gaze: Dubai and its New Cosmopolitanisms by Adrianne Kalfopoulou

Congratulations to SR Contributor Adrianne Kalfopoulou, who recently published On the Gaze: Dubai and its New Cosmopolitanisms, a book-length essay that explores the meaning of Dubai as a nation-state at the crossroads of the world. The book explores the history of Dubai’s development through a philosophical lens and a historical perspective, analyzing its evolution into a member state of the United Arab Emirates. It presents a completely new narrative on Dubai through multiple gazes.

Read some of the book’s reviews below:

“Adrianne Kalfopoulou has created a conceptual and reflective astrolabe of Dubai that could well become the new intellectual way of entering its space. Her narrative slides effortlessly on the chronological map crossing the gaze of time with the tactility of experience—hers and those of many others who have found themselves in this place of futurity in the hopes of escaping the vicissitudes of their individual presents. Transnational fluidities, Kalfopoulou tells us, rest on narratives of a future that has already become another mirage. Infrastructure indexes forms of modernity, and on this conceptual map we see fixed points that sculpt the modernities of the Gulf States—the hospital, the airport, the bank, the gaze from above, and the vision to the future, in a narrative that is as detached as a surgeon’s scalpel and as intimate as the literary account of a pedicure.”  – Neni Panourgiá, author of Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State

“In a personal narration that reads like a reflective literary diary, Adrianne Kalfopoulou’s On the Gaze chronicles the situational everydayness of her lifeworld in Dubai. The optics encapsulate manifold perspectives interwoven with anecdotes from the fabric of the city’s recent history, and oriented by analytic leitmotifs with Baudrillardian attunements. She depicts the intercultural arabesque of the cosmopolitanisms of a maritime megalopolis that rose in its architectonic edifices from the purity of the Arabian desert dunes. Dubai appears through her gazes as experiential labyrinthine lessons of inhabiting the locales of a global landmark of urbanity that reflect the neo-aesthetics of our hyperreal paradoxical age.”  – Nader El-Bizri, author of The Phenomenological Quest between Avicenna and Heidegger 

“Adrianne Kalfopoulou’s On the Gaze is a book-length essay on her immersive experience upon entering, and living in, a world far from her own cultural roots. We follow her 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 

Adrianne Kalfopoulou is based in Athens, Greece where she has taught in higher education for many years. She is a poet, essayist, and scholar, authoring three poetry collections. She has served as a poetry and nonfiction faculty mentor in the low residency Mile-High MFA program at Regis University, and was the McGee Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Davidson College for 2020-2021.

View Adrianne’s essays in issue 24, issue 16, and issue 9 of Superstition Review.

The book is available for preorder here. Learn more about Adrianne and her works here.