Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Samira Haj

Committee Members

Beth Baron

Gary Wilder

Nadya Sbaiti

Subject Categories

Arabic Studies | Islamic World and Near East History


Lebanon, Civil War, Marxism, Sectarianism


This dissertation looks at interweaving forms of intellectual, political, and cultural productions to interrogate the understandings of Lebanon as a polity within interlocking matrixes of capitalism, sectarianism, and nationalism. Weaving together hegemonic discourses represented by the speeches from political elites alongside leftist intellectual and productions, this project seeks to challenge the narratives of Lebanon as a sectarian state. Rather, I seek to shift attention to other potential readings of the nation-state, its peoples, and histories that were not and are not foreclosed by the dominant framings of the country more recently. By focusing on the rich discursive space of the Lebanese left and their readings of their present and possible futures, I historicize now subsumed temporalities of revolution and a socialist future as vibrant concurrent histories that challenge the centrality of sectarianism in ordering Lebanese history in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through various case studies, I examine how the Lebanese left in various manifestations read their past and present in a different manner for the purposes of producing a populace not bound up in sectarianized capitalist relations. I argue that recovering the vibrancy of the Lebanese left’s challenge to the conceptualizations of the nation-state and its peoples can provide a framework to explore the liminality of the postcolonial nation-state and the potential futures that did not come to pass.

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