Dr Ghalya Saadawi

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer in Research Architecture
Department Visual Cultures
Email G.Saadawi (@gold.ac.uk)
Dr Ghalya Saadawi

I teach on the MA and PhD programme at CRA. During my doctoral work I wrote about art and politics in the context of a post-Cold war, neoliberal Lebanon, to consider a rethinking of the figure of the witness and ideology critique. Current interests span critical theory, critical approaches to human rights, law and psychoanalysis, aesthetics and politics, illness and health histories. Before coming to Goldsmiths, I was adjunct lecturer in various Lebanese universities teaching sociology, psychology, and art history with a focus on Marxist and post-Marxist approaches to modern and contemporary art, and Resident Professor of Ashkal Alwan’s Home Workspace Program (2015-2017). I am theory tutor at the Dutch Art Institute since 2018, and member of the Beirut Institute of Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR). My first book, between October and November, is forthcoming with Fitzcarraldo Editions (2025).

Academic qualifications

  • BA Psychology American University of Beirut
  • MSc Social Psychology London School of Economics and Political Science
  • PhD Sociology Goldsmiths University of London

Research interests

Over the years, my interests and writings have varied from Lebanese post-cold war art and politics; to theories of witnessing, testimony and critiques of memory culture; realism and modernism debates in documentary; contemporary art and finance; to psychoanalysis and law, while remaining in keeping with a long tradition of Marxism and critical theory.

My doctoral work revolved around art and politics in the context of post-Cold War Lebanon and private reconstruction, reading the formal strategies of certain artists and filmmakers as ideology critique, and part of an extended political modernism through their rethinking of the figure of the witness.

I grew interested in post-Marxist critiques of contemporary art as contiguous with the broader political economy, not in spite of its criticality but because of it. I became interested in labour and art organizing (also through an art protocol project that never came to fruition).

I have also written about hypochondriasis and modernity, first as an auto theory essay, then as a scholarly exploration of the modern dialectics of health and illness in the figure of critique that I argue is the hypochondriac. I am drafting a book length manuscript on this question. In this line of non-academic writing, I am also developing a prose essay titled ‘Capital as a State of Mind’ which tries to develop a new lexicon of psychoanalysis and political economy.

In view of my longstanding interest in critiques of human rights discourse, I began researching the intersections of law and psychoanalysis in their potential for a renewed critique of liberalism and the founding violence of law. And most recently am developing an essay on Palestine, human rights discourse, and Israeli-American exceptionalism.

My first book, Between October in November is forthcoming with Fitzcarraldo Editions (2025).

Publications and research outputs

Book Section

Saadawi, Ghalya. 2022. Vapid Virtues, Real Stakes: Diagnosis for Left Art Protocols. In: Bassam El Baroni, ed. Between the Material and the Possible: Infrastructural Re-examination and Speculation in Art. Berlin: Sternberg Press and Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst, pp. 71-92. ISBN 9783956796005

Saadawi, Ghalya. 2022. Tactics of Alienation. In: Beate Söntgen and Julia Voss, eds. Why Art Criticism? A Reader. Berlin: Hatje Cantz, pp. 309-310. ISBN 9783775750745

Saadawi, Ghalya. 2015. "It makes her blind she said”: Love, Exhaustion and the Roadblock. In: Denise Robinson, ed. Through the Roadblocks: Realities in Raw Motion. Limassol, Cyprus: NeMe, pp. 145-152. ISBN 9789963969531


Saadawi, Ghalya. 2022. Critical Incision: Hypochondria, Autotheory, and the Health-Illness Dialectic. philoSOPHIA, 12(1-2), pp. 57-83. ISSN 2155-0891

Saadawi, Ghalya. 2022. Matthew Fuller and Eyal Weizman, Investigative Aesthetics: Conflict and Commons in the Politics of Truth, reviewed by Ghalya Saadawi. Journal of Visual Culture, 21(1), pp. 238-246. ISSN 1470-4129

Saadawi, Ghalya. 2021. Hypochondriacal with the World. The Derivative,

Saadawi, Ghalya. 2020. A Book Review in the Form of a Polemic Chad Elias's Posthumous Images: Contemporary Art and Memory Politics in Post-Civil War Lebanon and the Old New World Order. ARTMargins, 9(3), pp. 69-86. ISSN 2162-2574

Saadawi, Ghalya. 2018. On the Private in Private Higher Education, and Pedagogical Interventions in the Context of the American University of Beirut. Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier, 5(1),

Saadawi, Ghalya. 2012. Not, not Contemporary: The Eye of the Storm. Third Text, 26(4), pp. 379-382. ISSN 0952-8822

Further profile content

Professional projects

Beirut Institute of Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR)

Grants and awards

2023: Fitzcarraldo Editions/Mahler & LeWitt Studios Essay Prize

2018: Mercator Post-Doctoral Fellow, Cultures of Critique Research Training Group Leuphana University, Luneberg