Hope as a Discipline: Reflecting on the Lebanese Revolution 

Listen here: https://isarnpodcast.podbean.com/e/hope-as-a-discipline-reflecting-on-the-lebanese-revolution/

(Recorded June 2022)

Guests: Sophie Chamas and Ghiwa Sayegh

In this episode, Sophie Chamas and Ghiwa Sayegh reflect on the experience of listening back to our conversation about the Lebanese revolution of 2019-20 at a much less hopeful moment. They consider the importance of looking back, both historically and globally, and argue for the value of affect in revolutionary thought and practice. The title is inspired by the abolitionist work of Mariame Kaba, and in particular the interview “Hope Is a Discipline.”

Sophie Chamas is a scholar and activist originally from Lebanon. She is a Lecturer in Gender Studies at the Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS-University of London, having previously received her PhD from the University of Oxford. Her work sits at the intersection of feminist and queer political theory, Middle East Studies, political economy, and cultural studies, and focuses on the study of the life, death, and afterlife of the radical political imagination in the Middle East and its diaspora. All of my research is informed by what anthropologist Hirokazu Miyazaki calls “hope as method”–a dedication to exploring what is not yet rather than what has already become. Among her many articles and book chapters are “Lil Watan: Queer Patriotism in Chauvinistic Lebanon”; “Reading Marx in Beirut: Disorganised Study and the Politics of Queer Utopia”;  “Community Organizing and the Limits of Participatory Democracy in Lebanon”; and “Laughing Sectarianism Away: The Possibilities and Limitations of Lebanese Satire.” https://www.soas.ac.uk/about/sophie-chamas  

Ghiwa Sayegh is an anarcha-queer writer, independent publisher, and archivist from Lebanon. She is the founding editor of Kohl: A Journal for Body and Gender Research, a multilingual, open access, and peer reviewed journal that aims to respond to the cultural and Orientalist hegemonies of research around gender and sexuality from within the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and North Africa regions. She is also the co-founder of Intersectional Knowledge Publishers. She has an MA in gender studies from Université Paris 8 Vincennes – Saint-Denis, having previously studied at the American University of Beirut. Her research interests revolve around intersectional feminist and queer theories, Marxism, gender and sexuality in the MENA region, post-colonialism and Orientalism, and history from the peripheries. She is passionate about queer theory, transnational circulations, and imagined or unknown histories. Her influences are Audre Lorde and Sara Ahmed.



Intro music: South Pause, “Blaze Out” (via Epidemic Sound)

Crowander, “Humbug”  


Crowander, “Suspicious Strings”  


Outro Music: Pearce Roswell, “Work Undone” (via Epidemic Sound)

Links for Further Information:

From Our Guests in This Episode

Sophie Chamas Academic Website


Sophie Chamas, “Lil Watan: Queer Patriotism in Chauvinistic Lebanon” (2023)


Sophie Chamas, “Reading Marx in Beirut: Disorganised Study and the Politics of Queer Utopia”  (2020) 


Sophie Chamas, “The Sterility of Evil” (2019) 


Ghiwa Sayegh Academic Website


Kohl: A Journal for Body and Gender Research (Ghiwa Sayegh, founding editor and editor-in-chief)


Ghiwa Sayegh, “Kohl Journal: From Positionality to Messiness, Archiving Feminist Struggles Online” (2019) 


Ghiwa Sayegh, “Feminist and Queer Perspectives in West Asia: Complicity and Tensions” (2019) 


Kohl Special Issue: “Feminist Revolutionaries” (2019)


More on the Lebanese Revolution

The Lebanese Politics Podcast (Produced by Nizar Hassan and Benjamin Redd)


Ongoing Post on Protests in Beirut/Lebanon from Jadaliyya Co-Editors in Beirut (from October-November 2019)


Jeffrey G. Karam and Sana Tannoury-Karam, “The Lebanese Intifada: Observations and Reflections on Revolutionary Times” (Jadaliyya, November 2019)


Diala Lteif, “The Lebanon Revolution Takes on the Media: A Resource on Alternative News Outlets” (Jadaliyya July 2020) 


Timeline of the Lebanese Revolution (through February 2020)


Mona Fawaz, Mona Harb, Howayda Al-Harithy, Ahmad Gharbieh, “The Beirut Blast: A Week On” (Beirut Urban Lab, October 2020) 


“Compound Crises: Ziad Abu-Rish Reports on the Chemical Explosion in Beirut” (Status Podcast, August 2020) 


Mona Fawaz and Soha Mneimneh, “Beirut’s Blasted Neighborhoods: Between Recovery Efforts and Real Estate Interests” (Beirut Urban Lab, November 2020) http://beiruturbanlab.com/en/Details/685/beirut%E2%80%99s-blasted-neighborhoods-between-recovery-efforts-and-real-estate-interests

Sami Atallah, “Lebanon’s Parliamentary Elections: How Did the Opposition Win?” (Jadaliyya, May 2022)


“Election Results and Unresolved Questions” (The Lebanese Politics Podcast, May 2022)   https://soundcloud.com/lebpoliticspodcast/episode-114-election-results-and-unresolved-questions

Jeffrey G. Karam and Rima Majed, eds. The Lebanon Uprising of 2019: Voices from the Revolution (2022) https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/lebanon-uprising-of-2019-9780755644438/

Theme: Overlay by Kaira
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