As part of my plan to turn Hummus For Thought into a more dynamic website with multiple contributors, I decided to launch a personal blog where I can publish my essays and articles. Here it is.
So hi –
Identity/Background: My name is Joey Ayoub. I sometimes go by Joey Husseini-Ayoub to include my mother’s family name. Ibn Baldwin is a nom de plume I often use, and it means “Son of (James) Baldwin” in Arabic. I was born in France and raised in Lebanon in a Franco-Arab household with additional Palestinian, Italian, Argentinian and Swiss heritage. I would add a bit of British – Brit(ish) as Afua Hirsch writes it – as this island’s been my home for the past four years. I used to be uncomfortable with not fitting in a box, but now I’m glad I don’t.
To be more accurate, I would say that I am “from Lebanon” as it is by far the country that has impacted me the most. Am I Lebanese though? That’s a more complicated question, one which I’ll be exploring in the years to come as part of my study of Lebanese-ness.
I enjoy writing, reading, learning languages, watching movies/documentaries/series/anime, taking photos and pretending to know how to cook. And I miss my dogs quite a lot.
Studies/Locations: My formative years, in many ways, were 2010-2013 during my undergraduate studies at the American University of Beirut (AUB) where I did a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health. I lived in Hamra, Beirut between 2012 and 2014 and briefly in Achrafieh before moving back to my hometown in Mount Lebanon. In 2015, in the middle of the ‘You Stink’ protests, which I helped organise, I moved to London to do my MA in Cultural Studies at SOAS, University of London. My MA thesis was entitled ‘Jewish Identity and Language Politics: Hebrew, Yiddish and the Contemporary Debate on Zionism”. I lived in London between 2015 and 2017 where I was part of the SOAS Palestine Society (2015-2016) and the SOAS Syria Society (2016-2017). In October of 2017, I moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, where I am currently doing a PhD on Lebanese cinema at the University of Edinburgh. I also took a course (2016-2017) entitled “Jews, Christians and Muslims in Europe: Modern Challenges” which was given by The Woolf Institute.
Work/Writing: I have been a freelance writer, editor and researcher for most of my adult life. I’m published in Al Jazeera, AlJumhuriya.net, Raseef22, Global Voices Online, The New Arab (Al Araby), Pulse Media, IB Times, Middle East Eye, RS21 and El Diario, among others. These articles are usually republished on this site.
I’ve been the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) editor at IFEX.org since January 2018 and one of the editors at The Arab Tyrant Manual since May 2019. I was also one of two regional editors for the MENA region for Global Voices Online between August 2016 and April 2019.
Affiliations: I am a research associate of Lebanon Support, a member of the British Sociological Association, Long Now Foundation, Lebanese Studies Association, Citizens, Nations and Migration (CNaM) Network at the University of Edinburgh, Council for British Research in the Levant and Anarchist Studies Network (ASN). I’m also a fellow of Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum (GMF) and, of course, a member of IFEX and Global Voices.
Publications (not including essays/articles):
- “Black-Palestinian Solidarity: Towards an Intersectionality of Struggles”. Book Chapter in Social Justice and Israel/Palestine: Foundational and Contemporary Debates, July 2019. Edited by Aaron J. Hahn Tapper and Mira Sucharov. Published by University of Toronto Press.
- Editor of “Enab Baladi: Citizen Chronicles of the Syrian Uprising“, May 2019. It’s available for free on Hummus For Thought.
- “Decay as Political Metaphor in Ely Dagher’s Waves’ 98 and Mounia Akl’s Submarine“, March 2019. Journal essay. Published by Université Saint-Joseph, “Regards”.
- “The Civil War’s Ghosts: Events of Memory Seen Through Lebanese Cinema”. Book Chapter in The Social Life of Memory: Violence, Trauma, and Testimony in Lebanon and Morocco, 2017. Edited by Norman Saadi Nikro and Sonja Hegasy. Published by Palgrave Macmillan as part of Palgrave Studies in Cultural Heritage and Conflict.
Seminars, Lectures and Workshops:
- “Deconstructing “Fortress Europe” from Within: An Arab Migrant’s Perspective”. Royal Geographical Society & Institute of British Geographers, London, UK. — Lecture, August 2019.
- “Asfuriyeh and the Erasure of Memory in Lebanon”. London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, Oxford Uni., UK. — Lecture, June 2019
- “The Yiddish-Hebrew Kulturkampf: Historical and Contemporary Implications”. Middle East History and Theory (MEHAT) Workshop, Uni. of Chicago, Chicago, USA — Lecture, May 2019
- “A Baldwinian Reading of Lebanese-ness”. Northeast Modern Language Association (NemLA), Washington DC, USA — Lecture/Panel, March 2019
- “The Lebanese Migration Experience: A Screening of ‘Zozo’”. Citizens, Nations and Migration (CNaM) Network, Uni. of Edinburgh, UK— Screening/Discussion, December 2018
- “Minorities Beyond Ethnic and Religious Divides”. Heinrich Böll Stiftung Middle East, Beirut, Lebanon — Panel, November 2018
- “Haunting and the Postwar Generation in Lebanese Cinema”. Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) Department, Uni. of Edinburgh, UK — Seminar, October 2018
- “Critical Theory and Practice Panel on Syria”. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK — Discussion, April 2018
- “On the International Men and Gender Equality Survey for the MENA Region”. London School of Economics (LSE), London, UK— Lecture, January 2018
- “On Syria 2011-2017 and Lebanon 2005-2017”. University of Bologna and Mediateca Gateway, Bologna, Italy — Lecture, March 2017
- “On Syria Stories Map Project”. Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK — Lecture, March 2017
- “Social Media and Advocacy for Women’s Rights in the Arab World”. Womanity Foundation, Soul Cities and Oxfam, Amman, Jordan — Workshop, January 2014