Saturday, October 26th, 2019 | 12:00pm at Monnot Theater

In turbulent times, we excavate images of the future, seeking a glimpse of hope in the rubble. But all attempts to reconstruct remain inadequate until the means of inheriting the past are seriously interrogated. What does “reconstruction” mean in this context? When does it become a perpetuation of the same violence? How can this cycle be broken? If imagining the future necessitates partial living in the present as well as an examination of the past, then how could perpetual temporalities, such as asylum or exile, be imagined? 

If literature is where the force of the imagination takes effect, then what are the reasons for Arabic literature’s disinterest in futurity? Does literature write the future, or does it secure the future’s openness for reading? On the other hand, and as political ghosts such as Nasserism are, to this day, still able to haunt our discourses,  are there critical horizons to explore in our current state of melancholia that don’t ground themselves on nostalgic attachments? Can revisiting the structures of 1960s historical temporalities help us break from ideological spells and liberate our political imaginaries?

Haytham El-Wardany is a writer and translator. His latest book, The Book of Sleep (Alkarma, Cairo, 2017), reflects on the political and aesthetical potentialities of sleep as well as vigilance dialectics within post-revolutionary moments. Forthcoming is a short story collection titled Irremediable.

Saba Innab (b. 1980, Kuwait) is an architect, urban researcher, and artist practicing out of Amman and Beirut. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture Engineering from the Jordan University of Science and Technology. Innab worked as an architect and urban planner with UNRWA on the reconstruction of the Nahr el Bared Palestinian refugee Camp in the North Lebanon, a project nominated for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2013. In 2014, she received the Visiting Research Fellowship initiated by Studio-X Amman, itself run by the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Through mapping, model making, design, and drawing, her work explores the suspended states between temporality and permanence, and is concerned with variable notions of dwelling and building as well as their political, spatial, and poetic implications in language and architecture. She has participated in the 2011-12 Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut.

Sahar Mandour (b. 1977) is a Lebanese-Egyptian writer, journalist, and novelist. Mandour holds an MA in Media Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her area of expertise covers issues of gender, social movements, and cultural production in Lebanon, Egypt, and Palestine. She is currently the Lebanon and Jordan researcher at Amnesty International. Sahar worked as an editor at Assafir newspaper in Beirut from September 1998 until January 2017. She has four published novels: I’ll Draw a Star on Vienna’s Forehead (2007), A Beiruti Love (2009), 32 (2010, translated to English in 2015), and Mina (2012).

Mohammed Said Ezzeddine is a PhD candidate at the City University of New York. He received his Master’s degree in History from Georgetown University, and has written extensively about Adham El Sharkawy, a prominent Egyptian rural criminal who rose to the status of a popular legend mentioned in epic poems and folk songs. In his studies, Said Ezzedine traces the multitude of histories and memories surrounding the phenomenon of early twentieth century Egyptian criminals and outlaws. He is currently writing his doctoral thesis on revolution, time, and melancholy in Egypt between 1967 and 2013, tracing questions of Nasserism, Marxism, gender, and defeat that intersect at the figure of the Marxist militant Arwa Saleh, and the ways through which her legacy is commemorated. 

This event is part of Home Works 8: A Forum on Cultural Practices.