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The Western Psyche on Resistance: An Analysis of the Egyptian Human Rights Movement — Shaimaa Abdelkarim (Leicester)

  • Melbourne Law School, Room 920 185 Pelham Street Carlton, VIC 3053 Australia (map)
Ania Szremski,  I’d prefer not to . Townhouse: Ugly Feelings Exhibition

Ania Szremski, I’d prefer not to. Townhouse: Ugly Feelings Exhibition

In the aftermath of the 2011 Egyptian uprisings, the Egyptian Human Rights movement was struck by an ambivalence that took over the spirits of the uprisings. This ambivalence manifested itself through the loss of the movement’s capacity to function.

This seminar traces this loss through analysing the western psyche on resistance that reduces the 2011 Egyptian uprisings to an instantiated act that seeks more human rights. The western psyche, on one level, necessitates a form of recovery from the uprisings; and on another, affirms that the excess desires, which arise from the possibilities that come with the uprisings, are unattainable, lamenting: the streets had to be dispersed into normalcy. The seminar looks at the stakes of theorising the human rights subject as a resisting subject, firstly through uncovering the limits of a right to resistance; and secondly by offering an analysis of the Egyptian Human Rights movement and its space of operations after the uprisings.

The presenter will disrupt the linearity of the seminar through their own experience of Tahrir Square juxtaposed with other experiences during the uprisings. This disruption aims to signpost the sonorous desires that the presenter attempts to bring to presence beyond the legitimised desires within the human rights discourse.

Register here.


Shaimaa Abdelkarim is a PhD student and tutor at the School of Law, University of Leicester. Her research explores the stakes of theorising the human rights subject as a resisting subject through an intersection between critical legal studies and psychoanalysis. She was as a Visiting Researcher at Warwick Law School. She is currently a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Fellow at the Laureate Program in International Law, Melbourne Law School. She holds an LLM from the American University in Cairo and an LLB from Cairo University. Beyond institutions, she sometimes dabbles with poetry in Burning House Press.