Ziad Kiblawi

Research Topic: Modernity, Reason, and Critique in 20th Century Arab Materialist Thought

Supervisor: Professor Faisal Devji and Professor Mohamed-Salah Omri

I am an intellectual historian and a translator of modern Arab social and political thought. My research centers on Arabic critical theory, and the logico-historical conditions necessitated by the category of critique. Mainly, I look at the transformations of the analytic categories of critique between the 1950s and 1980s—from Arab Existentialism and Neo-Kantian culturalism in Arab Nationalism to the Marxist and psychoanalytic tendencies in historical thought.

I completed my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts at the American University of Beirut. My graduate dissertation, Reading, Repeating, and Working Through: On Mahdi Amil’s Theoretical Practice, examines the relationship between literature (Sufism, German romanticism, surrealism), anti-colonial thought (Fanon), science (Ibn Khaldūn, Freud), and philosophy (Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Bachelard, Althusser) in the thought and concept formation of Lebanese intellectual Mahdi Amel.

I am interested in conceptions of modernity and modernization; historiography of critical theory and modern art in the Middle East; historical practices of translation (and the ‘Arabization’) of German idealism, historical materialism, French structuralism, and psychoanalysis into Arabic; and the history and theory of intellectual history.

I am a member of the Beirut Institute of Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR) and the Aref El Rayess Foundation. I recently co-curated (with Natasha Gasparian) Je suis inculte !: The Salon d’Automne and the National Canon.