Mourning Sarah Hegazi: Grief and the Cultivation of Queer Arabness

Key information

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Brunei Gallery

About this event

Sophie Chamas, SOAS, University of London

For Zoom:

Meeting ID: 927 8014 1839
Passcode: 7j789467Th

In this presentation, I will discuss a work-in-progress that I am developing with Sabiha Allouche, from the University of Exeter. In our article, we engage in a discursive analysis and affective reading of written and recorded responses to the suicide of Sarah Hegazi, an Egyptian queer feminist communist who took her own life in exile in Canada in the summer of 2020. In the aftermath of Sarah’s suicide, queer Arabs across the Middle East and North Africa as well their diaspora publicly mourned her death in an unprecedented way through an abundance of social media posts, blogs, articles, twitter and Instagram hashtags, and vigils. Some mourned her as a friend and comrade, as chosen kin, but most did not know Sarah personally. In this presentation, I will discuss what it was about Sarah’s life and death that inspired such a response from queer Arabs, and what this collective mourning was productive of.

Speaker Bio

Sophie Chamas is lecturer in gender studies at SOAS. Their work is focused on the study of the life, death and afterlife of the radical political imagination in the Middle East and its diaspora via a critical engagement with contemporary activist discourses and ideologies.

Chair: Shreeta Lakhani, SOAS, University of London