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That Which Tomorrow Was Not: Legacies of an Anti-Western Revolution

Conversation

26/03/19 7:00 pm

Free

Filmmaker and cultural critic Hamed Yousefi in conversation with theorist Sami Khatib discussing the political legacy of anti-Western thought in Iran and beyond. Yousefi’s film The Fabulous Life and Thought of Ahmad Fardid deals with an enigmatic figure who mobilised Heideggerian philosophy in his crusade to halt Western influence in the Islamic world.

In Being and Time Martin Heidegger writes: “That which will come tomorrow (and this is what everyday concern keeps awaiting) is ‘eternally yesterday’s.’” Inspired by Heidegger’s questioning of progressive time, Iranian philosopher Ahmad Fardid (1910-1993) articulated a revolutionary critique of Western modernity, or as he termed it, ‘Westoxification’ (Gharbzadegi). His revolutionary thought entailed a second coming of ‘the day before yesterday’ during that transformative day which would come ‘after tomorrow.’ Although himself an obscure figure, Fardid’s legacy is inseparable from the fate of the Iranian revolution. His Heideggerian call for a revival of spiritual authenticity also resonates with broader anti-colonial movements across the Middle East and North Africa.

Sami Khatib is a visiting researcher at Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Germany. His work spans the fields of critical theory, aesthetic theory and modern continental philosophy. He is a founding member of the Beirut Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR).

Hamed Yousefi is a filmmaker and art historian. His work focuses on the question of the avant-garde in art and literature in the middle east, particularly in relation to anti-colonial and nationalist movements in Iran and Egypt. He is currently a PhD student in Art History at Northwestern University.

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