Maya Mikdashi

Apr 4 & Apr 8, 2022

4:30–7:00 PM (Beirut time/GMT+3)

This seminar will be held online


What are the relationships between sexual and political difference, between history and multiplicity, and between interdisciplinarity, law, and archives? This seminar will explore these questions through, in the first session, a public book discussion between Maya Mikdashi, author of Sextarianism; Sovereignty, Secularism and the State in Lebanon (SUP, 2022), and Edwin Nasr, Assistant Director of Ashkal Alwan. The second session is organized as a seminar and workshop where we will work with academic articles, legal decisions, film, and poetry. Thinking across these different genres of text, we explore how multiplicity, opacity, and hypervisibility structure archival, legal, historical, and ethnographic encounters. Special attention will be paid to war, violence, sex and sexuality, and the contradictory desires that animate how we approach and narrate these subjects. 


– Adnan, Etel. "To Be in A Time of War." In the Heart of Another Country (2014): 99-116.

– Arondekar, Anjali. "In the Absence of Reliable Ghosts: Sexuality, Historiography, South Asia." differences 25, no. 3 (2014): 98-122.

– Beirut Civil Court Decision, May 22, 1992.

– Hartman, Saidiya. "Venus in two acts." Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism 12, no. 2 (2008): 1-14.

– Mikdashi, Maya. “A Fire in the Archive: History, Ethnography, Multiplicity.” Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism and the State in Lebanon.

– Soueid, Mohamed. “Cinema Fouad.” 1993, runtime 41 minutes.

Maya Mikdashi is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and a lecturer in the program in Middle East Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar of the state. Maya uses both archival and ethnographic research in her work, and is particularly interested in the everyday ways that people talk about, imagine, work within, challenge, and turn towards state power. She is author of Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism and the State in Lebanon (Stanford University Press, 2022)

Maya is a co-founding editor of the e-zine and is also a filmmaker and writer. She is co-director of the feature-length documentary film About Baghdad (2004), co-founding member of filmmaking cooperative Quilting Point Productions, director of Notes on The War (2006), and co-wrote (with director Carlos Motta), and performed in Deseos / رغبات, a historical fantasy film set in 19th century Beirut and Bogota.