This event with the eminent Lebanese public intellectual and critic Fawwaz Traboulsi draws on his long experience of organizing for and writing about a democratic future in the Arab world. It delves into the political role of art and culture, from the Lebanese civil war to the Arab uprisings and beyond. The wide-ranging conversation will revisit his war-time photo essay Guernica-Beirut, consider the theatre of Fayrouz and the Rahbani brothers in light of the politics of sectarianism in Lebanon and elsewhere in the region, and probe the extent to which popular culture can challenge neoliberal ‘culture talk’ about and in the Middle East.

Fawwaz Traboulsi has taught History and International Affairs at the Lebanese American University and the American University of Beirut. He has been a visiting professor at New York University, the University of Michigan, Columbia University, New York University, and Vienna University and a fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. His publications include A History of Modern Lebanon (2007), Soie et Fer. Du Mont-Liban au Canal de Suez (2017), Guernica-Beirut (A Picasso Mural/An Arab City at War, 1987), In Kan Baddak Ti`shaq (Essays in Popular Culture, 2004), Masrah Fayrouz Wal-Rahabinah (The Musical Theatre of Feirouz and the Rahbani Brothers, 2007), Al-Dimuqratiyah Thawra (Democracy is a Revolution, 2011), Al-Tabaqat al-Ijtima’iyyah wa-l-Sulta al-Siyassiyyha fi Luban (Social Classes and Political Power in Lebanon, 2016), Damm al-Akhawayn (On Violence in Civil Wars , 2017), and Sayks-Picot-Balfour: Ma wara’ al-Khara’it (Sykes-Picot Agreement-Balfour Declaration: Beyond the Maps, 2018). Traboulsi is a long-time journalist and the editor of the Bidayat Magazine.

Leyla Dakhli is senior researcher in Modern History at the French Center for National Research (CNRS). Her work deals with the study of Arab intellectuals and the social history of the South Mediterranean region, with a particular focus on the history of women. She also explores the history and politics of languages, archives, and revolts in Tunisia. She is the principal investigator of the ERC-founded programme DREAM (Drafting and Enacting the revolutions in the Arab Mediterranean — ERC-CO 2017 DREAM) and part of the Arab Council for Social Science working group, ‘Gendering the Archive in the Middle East and North Africa’, and the Berlin-based CO2LIBRI working group, ‘Conceptual Collaboration: Living Borderless Research Interaction’ (FU-HU-ZMO).

Jens Hanssen is a professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of Toronto. He will serve as director of the Orient Institute in Beirut from July 2023 onwards. His research explores the cultural entanglements between Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East since the 19th-century Arabic reform and revival movement — al-nahda al-‘arabiyya. His publications include Fin de Siècle Beirut (2005), A Clarion for Syria: A Patriot’s Call Against the Civil War of 1860, with Hicham Safieddine (2019), Arabic Thought beyond the Liberal Age and Arabic Thought against the Authoritarian Age, both with Max Weiss (2016 and 2018), and the Handbook of Contemporary North African and Middle Eastern History, with Amal Ghazal (2020). He currently serves on the board of directors of MESA and is a member of the international advisory board of the Khalidiyya Library in East Jerusalem.

In English

Fawwaz Traboulsi
Moderated by Leyla Dahkli and Jens Hanssen

Organized by

Jens Hanssen and Leyla Dakhli in cooperation with the Centre Marc Bloch (CMB), the ERC-founded programme ‘Drafting and Enacting the Revolution in the Arab Mediterranean’ (DREAM), the Orient Institute of Beirut (OIB) of the Max Weber Stiftung, Europe in the Middle East -The Middle East in Europe (EUME) – a research program of the Forum Transregionale Studien,  Co2libri – Conceptual Collaboration: Living Borderless Research Interaction, the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), and the ICI Berlin

KV Translating Politics

Image credit © Jana Traboulsi