EUME Berliner Seminar
Mi 21 Apr 2021 | 17:00–18:30

The Erotics of Revolution: An Outline of Emotions in the 2011 and 2019 Uprisings

Mohammed Bamyeh (University of Pittsburgh / EUME Fellow 2020/21), Chair: Cilja Harders (Freie Universität Berlin / EUME)

Revolutions tend to be understood as products of objective or structural conditions, but also to gain energy from “negative” emotions: anger, range, hatred, will to revenge. But a large record of especially the early phases of the Arab uprisings that began in 2011—which happen to have witnessed the largest levels of mobilizations—tend to show the opposite: that those were largely festive events, characterized by an abundance of jouissance, fewer inhibitions, temporary suspensions of restrictive norms, and artistic creativity. The large amount of record now available on the movements of 2011 and 2019 demonstrate that one aspect of that mobilization involved pleasure, and much more so than the typical negativities associated with mass mobilization and asserted in much of the literature of social movements. This talk presents an outline of an evolving project that seeks to thematically organize observations on the role of pleasure in revolutionary movements, and proposes to situate the question of pleasure at the center of studies of revolutionary processes.

Mohammed Bamyeh is currently a professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh (USA), and chair of the Board of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS). He previously held the Hubert Humphrey Chair in International Studies at Macalester College, and other teaching positions at Georgetown University, New York University, and the University of Massachusetts. He served as the lead author of Social Sciences in the Arab World: Forms of Presence (2015). His other books include Lifeworlds of Islam (2019), Intellectuals and Civil Society in the Middle East (ed., 2012), Anarchy as Order (2009), Of Death and Dominion (2007; in German as Tod und Herrschaft, 2020), The Ends of Globalization (2000), and The Social Origins of Islam (1999). He has also co-edited (with Sari Hanafi) a special issue of International Sociology on the Arab Spring (2015), Palestine America (as a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, 2003), Literature and Revolution (as a special issue of Mizna, 2012). His areas of expertise include the sociology of knowledge, social movements and revolutions, Islamic studies, and cultural sociology.


In accordance with the measures against the spread of the coronavirus, this seminar session will be held virtually via ZOOM. Please register in advance via eume(at) to receive the login details. Depending on approval by the speakers, the Berliner Seminar will be recorded. All audio recordings of the Berliner Seminar are available via the account of the Forum Transregionale Studien on SoundCloud.

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