TBA Guest Scholar Maya Mikdashi (Dept of Women’s & Gender Studies, Rutgers University) traces the history of the modern Lebanese state through an engagement with the archives of the country’s high court. Ethnography of daily life at the courthouse is coupled with archival research in order to think more critically about mainstream Lebanese history and technologies of research, census taking, and the politics of identity.

What is the relationship between history, the researcher, and the archive? How might we think about archival refusal–archives that are not history and archives that are absent–in order to re-imagine the political possibilities of the present in a War on Terror era Middle East? How might the researcher refuse the logic and technology of the archive, and what work are we doing at these moments of refusal? These are some of the guiding questions of this presentation, which serves to further contextualize Lebanese culture, politics, and identity in connection with Beirut-based TBA artists Ali Chahrour and Junaid Sarieddeen.