Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Middle Eastern Studies


Samira Haj

Subject Categories

Cultural History | Intellectual History | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Oral History | Political History | Political Theory | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social History


Disappeared, History, Lebanon, Revolution, Temporality


This thesis will be an attempt to reenact events in relation to the disappeared and the Lebanese civil war, with the help of newspaper cuts, oral history, theories on historical writing, memories, and books on Lebanon. As a prospective historian, the writer will be tapping into the internal event of thought processes and meaning of the past, as advised by R. G. Collingwood in The Idea of History. (Collingwood, 1946 ) That critical inquiry will only be at the service of understanding the present from the lens of a self-reflecting inquisitor that has faced many silences in a past she doesn’t own as yet. The inquiry will be a dissection of those silences, an attempt at vocalizing quarter rests in the symphony of sediments of time in the history of Lebanon and particularly in the case of the disappeared of the Lebanese civil war. In a nutshell, the questions raised in this humble attempt are going to unearth several non-linear instances unfolding concepts such as absence, grave culture and silence, and finally experience, all tying to the current events of the Lebanese Revolution which was categorized as “unthinkable” until very recently.

The first chapter will be looking into the break from the past as of October 17's Lebanese Revolution (2019), through Hartog’s concept of regimes of historicity, taking into account Foucault’s order of things as well as his analysis of Frederick Nietzche. It will also be based on Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations, and Sune Haugbolle’s Gramscian approach of studying the Lebanese civil war’s socio-cultural affect. The second chapter will be dissecting the concept of being in time based on Martin Heidegger’s findings, absence and its many definitions, and subsequently tending to the case of the disappeared in Lebanon. Through those concepts and case study, and utilizing Marc Nichanian’s The Historiographic Perversion,the writer will delve further into violence of the archive in conversation with cultural production (including literature, film features and art spaces) in which silences were witnessing confined breaks and through which the disappeared were present. And finally the third chapter will be focused mainly on experience and the field of history, based on Georgio Agamben’s Infancy and History and Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Silencing the Past.