Egyptian Traditions of Revolution: Memory and Transmission of Radical Discourse
A seminar with Associate Professor Walter Armbrust, University of Oxford.
Free admission and open to all.
The January 25th Revolution was initially labelled as a “youth revolution.” It is true that waves of young Egyptians who had no previous history of political mobilization took to the streets between 2011 and 2013. Yet the core non-Islamist revolutionaries who initiated mass demonstrations, but also sustained the Revolution through long-term sit-ins involving hundreds of activists rather than tens or hundreds of thousands, drew upon an archive of radical discourse, particularly from the 1970s generation of Leftist artists and intellectuals. Islamists drew from a parallel tradition of radicalism, but in different ways and for different types of political performances.
How were radical traditions mobilized, spatialized, and mediated in the Revolution? What new traditions of resistance might emerge from the generation of 2011 and the harsh aftermath of a defeated revolution? How will these traditions be preserved and transmitted? My lecture will explore these questions in the context of the January 25th Revolution, and more speculatively, with respect to the future trajectory of a radical archive.
Dr Walter Armbrust is Associate Professor in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St Antony's College, University of Oxford. He is a cultural anthropologist, and author of Mass Culture and Modernism in Egypt (1996) and various other works focusing on popular culture, politics and mass media in Egypt.