‘The Revolution is a Woman’: From Woke Culture to the Arab Awakening

By CAROLINE ROONEY – Oct. 18th at 6 pm London time/ 7 pm Berlin and Cape Town time/ 8 pm Jerusalem time/ 1 pm New York Time/ 12 noon Chicago time/ 10 am Vancouver time

Part of the Psychoanalysis and Politics series Crises and Transmission

This presentation will begin through tracing how what is termed ‘gender ideology’ and, beyond this, contemporary forms of identity politics arose in part as a critical response to ‘New French Feminism’, or the radical feminism that emerged in the wake of the May ‘68 revolution in France. It will go on to raise the question of whether ‘woke’ culture constitutes a commodification of the left, and contrast this with the wave of Arab uprisings that began in Tunisia 2010 and spread across North Africa and the Middle East. Attention will be drawn to how ‘the revolution is a woman’ became one of the main slogans of revolutionary movements across North Africa and the Middle East, and a theoretical consideration of this slogan will be offered through an improvised approach to the Lacanian notions of the symbolic, the imaginary and the real.

Caroline Rooney is Professor Emeritus of African and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Kent. Her work engages with anti-colonial liberation movements in Africa and the Middle East, and her most recent book is Creative Radicalism in the Middle East: Culture and the Arab Left After the Uprisings (I.B.Tauris, 2020). Her other books include African Literature, Animism and Politics (Routledge 2000) and Decolonising Gender: Literature and a Poetics of the Real (2007).


This seminar has passed. The film based on the seminar is available for rental, see Films. 

Image: Gigi Ibrahim (2023) Anti Sexual Harassment March to Tahrir Square in Egypt, Feb. 6th 2013. Source: Wikimedia Commons.