Fadi A. Bardawil, "Overcoming Theory's Resistances: Translating Arab Revolutions Past and Present"
Friday, November 6, 2020 - 9:30am to 11:00am
View Fadi A. Bardawil's full tgiFHI talk below!
For more on Fadi A. Bardawil's work, read his interview in our "Meet Your Humanities Faculty" series. Dr. Bardawil describes why translation and displaced meanings generate space for new thought, how he's assembled an archive that's underground and dispersed, and how theory comes alive in political action through translation and transfiguration.
Looked at from the perspective of the Arab revolutions (2011), we seem to be entering a post-postcolonial time that is ushering in a political de-centering of the West in practice after it has been subjected to multiple theoretical critiques in the past. Today, the labors of translation are needed more than ever to invent new figures of thought to help us apprehend emancipatory practice and re-think a politics of solidarity. The first step in this process is to think through the theoretical resistances to translation that for the most part uncover a Metropolitan unconscious at work, which keeps the West at its heart, to laude it, or criticize it. I do so through excavating, and translating, the long-forgotten archive of the 1960s Lebanese New Left, and re-visiting the contemporary revolutions (2011-).
Fadi A. Bardawil, an anthropologist by training, is assistant professor of contemporary Arab cultures in the Department of Asian Studies and Middle East Studies. His research investigates the international circulation of critical theory, the genealogies of post-colonial critique, and the traditions of intellectual inquiry and modalities of political engagement of contemporary Arab thinkers. His writings have appeared in boundary 2; Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East; The Journal for Palestine Studies (Arabic edition); Jadaliyya; al-Jumhuriya; The Immanent Frame; Kulturaustausch; Ma3azef, Megaphone; and South Atlantic Quarterly.
Prior to Duke, he served on the faculty of the University of North Carolina Chapel-Hill, was a Harper Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Society of Fellows and a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is the author of Revolution and Disenchantment: Arab Marxism and the Binds of Emancipation (Duke University Press, 2020).