Has the Left in the Arab world simply become trapped in violence and identity politics? Does its legacy consist solely in self-criticism and “a melancholic vision of history as a series of losses”? (Traverso) By remapping the dynamics of rupture and continuities in militant trajectories, I intend to shed light on the resilience of Arab radical and democratic traditions that took shape in spite of local and global wars, state coercion, and repeated failures. What may best characterize the revolutionary dynamics in the 1960s and 1970s worldwide lies in the junction between contesting social and cultural norms and challenging a political and economic order. A history of the New Left in the Arab East could be written through this lens. To that end, I examine its numerous attempts to overthrow interlocking systems of power: to bridge the gap between workers or peasants and students, to rethink the connection between social struggles and national emancipation, and to experiment with new forms of organization, of leadership, of social life, and of gender relationships, in the constitutive interplay between local, regional, and transnational frames of reference.
Laure Guirguis is a historian who works on the political, social and cultural history of the Arab world, with a special focus on the Arab East. She is an associate researcher at the Institute for Research on the Arab and Muslim World (IREMAM, Aix-en-Provence). Her major publications include ‘Vietnam and the Rise of a Radical Left in Lebanon, 1962-1976, Monde(s). Histoire, Espaces, Relations 1 (2018); Copts and the Security State: Violence, Coercion and Sectarianism in Contemporary Egypt (Stanford UP 2016), and Egypt: Revolution and Counter-Revolution (Laval UP 2014).
The New Left in the Arab East: Entangled Histories of Revolutionary Hopes and Violence (1956-1979)
Area of research:
Social history. Cultural History. Transnational History
01 Oct 2019 - 30 Sep 2022