Quick Info on the Blog: Hummus For Thought has been my personal blog since 2011, and it has changed quite a lot over the years. It is currently being redesigned as I wish to turn it from being my personal blog to a jointly-owned project. You can also follow the Facebook page here.
Background: My name is Joey Ayoub, and I also go by Joey Husseini-Ayoub to include my mother’s family name. Born in 1991, I am of mixed Lebanese, Palestinian, Italian, French and Argentinian heritage, but I grew up in some village somewhere in Mount Lebanon near Beirut.
I have been a freelance writer and researcher for most of my adult life which, admittedly, isn’t that long.
I read and write a lot about identity because I have been, to steal Edward Said’s words, out of place for as long as I can remember. But that doesn’t mean that I only write on identity. In the past couple of years, I have been particularly obsessed with the curious failure within many, if not most, left-wing circles to stand in solidarity with the Syrian people facing destruction at an industrial level at the hands of the Assad regime and its allies. This has lead me to study the works of Syrian intellectual and activists as the profound contribution to critical thought they make is often undervalued.
My formative years, in many ways, were 2010-2013 during my undergraduate studies at the American University of Beirut. 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. In October of 2017, I moved to Edinburgh where I’m currently doing a PhD on the Politics of Postwar Lebanese Cinema at the University of Edinburgh.
My introduction to the decolonising education and the (smaller) decolonising anarchism movements has proven to be the most significant one so far, possibly only equalled by gender and masculinity studies, queer theory, indigenous movements, rewilding and the politics of language. As you can imagine, it’s all a big and beautiful mess.
Projects: As mentioned above, I am working on transforming this blog from a personal one to a jointly-owned one. It will keep its focus on Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, but we will be expanding to include international issues as well. It will be bilingual, in English and Arabic.
There will be a podcast inspired by the awesome folks over at ‘The Irrelevant Arabs“. The podcast, which will be simply called ‘Hummus For Thought’, will feature discussions with interesting people from around the world about virtually everything.
Writing: I have been published in a number of publications such as AlJumhuriya.net, Raseef22, Global Voices Online, The New Arab (Al Araby), Pulse Media, IB Times, Middle East Eye, RS21 and El Diario and among others. I’m hoping to be published elsewhere as well in the near future. I mostly write on the politics of Lebanon, Syria and Israel-Palestine with a focus on the politics of language and identity, citizen journalism, radical politics and critical theory. I also follow American, British and French politics and I wish to start writing on Environmental issues.
I am one of two regional editors for the Middle East and North Africa region for Global Voices Online, a position I’ve held since August 2016.
I have published one book chapter so far, entitled “The Civil War’s Ghosts: Events of Memory Seen Through Lebanese Cinema”. It is in a book entitled “The Social Life of Memory: Violence, Trauma, and Testimony in Lebanon and Morocco” and which will be out soon.
I am also preparing another book chapter but I can’t discuss it yet. It will be on the intersectionality between African-American and Palestinian struggles.
Finally, I am working with Enab Baladi, the Syrian citizen newspaper, to publish a free e-book featuring translations of some of their best articles since 2012. We’re hoping to have it available by January 2018.
As most of you probably already know, being a freelancer doesn’t exactly provide a stable income. So, if you like my writing and want me to contribute to your book, journal or website, please get in touch @ Joey[at]ayoub[dot]ch.
Education, Research and Interests: I wrote my MA thesis on ‘Jewish Identity and Language Politics: Hebrew, Yiddish and the Contemporary Debate on Zionism”. The MA itself was in Cultural Studies and I did it at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. I previously did a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health at the American University of Beirut (AUB). I started my PhD in October of 2017 on the Politics of Postwar Lebanese Cinema at the University of Edinburgh.
Research/Writing Interests include:
- Gender and Masculinity, Queer Studies
- Anarchist Modernity, Decolonising Anarchism
- Decolonising Education
- Politics of Language, Intersection between Politics and Linguistics. Case studies looked at so far: Hebrew-Arabic Bilingualism in Israel-Palestine, Historical debates on Yiddish and Hebrew among Ashkenazi Jews, Languages of Lebanon.
- The Impact of both the Lebanese Civil War and the Postwar Neoliberal ‘Reconstruction’ on Memory and Identity, Restlessness and Anxiety in Lebanon
- The idea of writing a ‘people’s history’ of Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.
- Rewilding Lebanon, inspired by Monbiot’s book ‘Feral’ and Rewilding projects across the world
- The Palestinian struggle
- History of Lebanese Jews
- The concept of Doikayt, or ‘here-ness’ in Yiddish, in Jewish thought
- The Syrian Revolution, Civil War and Global War
- Syrian literature, initially in translation and now also in Arabic
- Middle Eastern cinema, particularly Lebanese, Iranian, Turkish, Israeli and Palestinian Cinema.
- Japanese Anime
Donations: Any help I get will be used to build develop this website. Don’t worry, I don’t have a secret castle somewhere where I stash all the cash. If I did, it would be quite the tiny castle.
For now, I only have a Ko-Fi page where you can basically ‘buy me coffee’. I will hopefully set up a Patreon one soon and
I will also have a separate page for financial transparency (called Registry of Interests) once the new site is up.