Dr Ghalya Saadawi

Staff details

Dr Ghalya Saadawi


Senior Lecturer in Research Architecture


Visual Cultures


G.Saadawi (@gold.ac.uk)

My interests range across art and political economy, witnessing and testimony, law and psychoanalysis

I teach on the MA and PhD at the CRA. For my doctoral work I wrote about art and politics in the context of post-Cold war, neoliberal Lebanon, which considered a rethinking of the figure of the witness and a critique of post-civil war ideology and reconstruction.
Current research interests span Marxist critical theory, critical approaches to human rights, the intersections of law and psychoanalysis, aesthetics and politics, illness and health histories.

Before coming to Goldsmiths, I was 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 currently 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, including theories of witnessing, testimony and critiques of memory culture; Realism and modernism debates in documentary; Contemporary art and value; The intersections of Marxism, psychoanalysis and law.

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 a form of ideology critique and part of an extended political modernism through their rethinking of the figure of the witness.

I taught Marxist and post-Marxist critiques of contemporary art and my interest in labour and art organizing grew leading to my involvement in a prototype for a Left art protocol project.

I have written about hypochondriasis and modernity, exploring the 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. II am also developing a book-length prose essay titled Capital as a State of Mind’, which develops a lexicon of categories of political economy, read socially and psychoanalytically.

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).

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

Publications and research outputs


Saadawi, Ghalya. 2025. Between October and November. London: Fitzcarraldo Editions.

Book Section

Saadawi, Ghalya. 2024. The Structure of Desire in Ghassan Salhab's "The River" (2022). In: Marwa Arsanios; Leon Filter and Leire Vergara, eds. A Cut Through the Screen: Struggles’ Reverberations in Cinema. Berlin: Archive Books and Dutch Art Institute.

Saadawi, Ghalya and Abu Hamdan, Lawrence. 2024. Air Pressure: A conversation between Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Ghalya Saadawi. In: Riccardo Badano; Tomas Percival and Susan Schuppli, eds. Militant Media. Berlin: Spector Books. ISBN 9783959056878

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. 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,

Professional projects

Beirut Institute of Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR)