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Chamas, Sophie (2020) 'Reading Marx in Beirut: Disorganised Study and the Politics of Queer Utopia.' Middle East: Topics and Arguments, 14. pp. 143-159.

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This article draws on ethnographic research carried out with Marxist reading groups run by a Lebanese revolutionary socialist organization. I examine the labor that Marxist theoretical practice was doing in a political conjuncture widely viewed as post-Marxist , discussing the relationship between theory and affect, and the role that affective infrastructures play in maintaining and reproducing social movements and political organisations. Drawing on Moten and Harney, I frame this intellectual labor as a form of dissonant , disorganized study - a mode of preparing for revolution by being together in brokenness and routinely generating a commitment to a particular political horizon. This form of political praxis as study unfolded within a Lebanese activist scene dominated by a pragmatic conception of politics, within which the critical labor of the radical and revolutionary left was largely considered sterile , mired in something akin to what Berlant calls cruel optimism. Drawing on Munoz, his conceptualisation of the politics of queer utopia, and his defence of utopian imaginativeness, I argue that for radical and revolutionary leftists in counter-revolutionary times, cultivating solidarity and camaraderie by maintaining a space of study that could enable technologies of both self and collective constituted a productive political act.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: utopia, leftism, Lebanon, Marxism, queerness, study
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Departments and Subunits > Interdisciplinary Studies > Centre for Gender Studies
ISSN: 2196629X
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2022 12:34

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