Forum Lectures #25: Sarah Nagaty

How Revolutions Feel: The Egyptian Collective Dream

“I cannot detach my own positionality from both how recognizable this feeling is and my desire to dedicate years of research to it. It was something in the air. It seeped into our conversations on the school bus, when we shared our ideas about how the future may look like for each one of us. We had big dreams, but we also knew from a young age that the world would be resistant to those dreams.”

The book The Collective Dream: Egyptians Longing for a Better Life links two seminal moments in Egypt’s history – the Revolution of 25th January 2011 and the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser – through various cultural manifestations. It conceives the concept of “collective dreaming” to map out the subliminal feeling which runs deep through experiences of socially transformative moments. The author has extensively studied the structure of feelings that encompasses the experiences not only of activist minorities but the broader mass of revolutionary movements. In certain historical moments, hopes and aspirations bind together millions of people from all walks of life: students, workers, farmers, and middle-class professionals. Nagaty calls this phenomenon the “collective dream”, something which has been carried through generations of Egyptians. The book asks: what is that feeling? What is the collective dream?

About Sarah Nagaty

Originally her PhD thesis, Sarah Nagaty's book: The Collective Dream: Egyptians Longing for a Better Life, traces how revolutions feel. Nagaty was awarded a PhD in April this year from both the Catholic University of Portugal and the University of Copenhagen thanks to funding from FCT for a joint doctoral degree in Cultural Studies. Nagaty also used to work for the Library of Alexandria and the UNHCR (Egypt). Nagaty is currently a researcher at CECC (UCP) simultaneously as she works in a tiny grocery store and a giant consultancy firm to pay the bills until she finds her place within academia. 

Forum Lectures

Forum Lectures is a series of lectures by Danish and international thinkers and cultural workers reflecting on how art co-forms commonality. Forum Lectures bring thinking and shared study back to the university and invite public lectures on the last Tuesday of every month from 17:00 - 19:00.

The initiative is hosted by the research group of the New Carlsberg Foundation research centre Art as Forum. Our researchers are occupied by a.o. the infrastructures of the arts, collective modes of production, the entanglement of political theory and aesthetic theory, assembling strategies of curation, dematerialized art, acts of strategic separatism and temporality in digital art.

The lecture is free and open to everyone interested.