Weekly Lectures & Films

The NVIC organises weekly lectures (on Thursday) and films (on Sunday) on a variety of subjects. We are looking forward to welcoming you at the institute!


The NVIC organises weekly Thursday lectures on a variety of subjects. The lectures start at 6 pm sharp. The doors open at 5.30 pm. Please note that seating is limited. The lectures start as scheduled and late admissions are not allowed. After the lecture refreshments will be served in the hall of the Institute.  
Would you like to present your own academic research at NVIC? We are looking for professionals who would like to give a lecture about their research findings. Please email info@nvic.leidenuniv.nl for more information.

The umbrella topic of our film screenings and lectures in October is 'The 60s'. Keep an eye on our Facebook page or website for more information about our program.

Haggag Ali - The Frankfurt School in Egypt in the 60s

Thursday 19 October

In the 1960s, with the rise of student protests, much attention was given to Herbert Marcuse, who became the most prominent figure of the Frankfurt School. Almost all his writings were translated into Arabic between 1969 and 1973. The Cairo-based monthly periodical Al Fekr Al Muasser gave good space to Herbert Marcuse’s social theory, though his ideas represented a challenge to this Egyptian periodical, whose editors were major proponents of positivistic philosophy, one which was harshly criticized by Marcuse.
Haggag Ali’s talk underlines this early Egyptian engagement with critical theory of the Frankfurt School, with particular emphasis on the reasons behind the Egyptian rejection of Herbert Marcuse’s ideas.

Haggag Ali is an assistant professor in critical theory at the Academy of Arts - Egypt. His publications include 'Mapping the Secular Mind: Modernity’s Quest for a Godless Utopia' (London, 2013), and his Arabic translations include Zygmunt Bauman's 'Modernity and the Holocaust' (Cairo, 2014), and 'Liquid Modernity' (Beirut, 2016). Dr. Ali had postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin and Humboldt University of Berlin. His current research focuses on the Arab receptions of the critical theory of the Frankfurt School since the 1960s.

! attention !
The number of seats is limited. We open our doors at 5:30 and close them at 6:15 or earlier in case the lecture room reaches its full capacity, out of safety considerations.

Literary Bastards, Down-and-Out in Paris, London and Egypt: Waguih Ghali, Albert Cossery, Georges Moustaki

Albert Cossery in Paris, October 1999. SIPA.

Albert Cossery in Paris, October 1999. SIPA.

Thursday 26 October

Three remarkable artistic voices rose to fame in the 1960s: Waguih Ghali, Georges Moustaki, and Albert Cossery. All three were born in Egypt (the first two in Alexandria, the last in Cairo), but lived most of their lives in Europe. All three had strong political convictions, but none showed particular political activity. All three have been celebrated as Egyptian, as long as they stayed well outside the country. All three popularised major artistic genres: Egyptian writing in English with the novel and diaries of Waguih Ghali; French-Mediterranean popular ballads with the songs of Georges Moustaki; and surrealist literature that bridged art and prose with the stories of Albert Cossery – but all these genres remain marginal to canonical Egyptian culture. All three were given refuge in Europe, but all three celebrated their rootlessness, their right to be different, calling themselves ‘down-and-out’, ‘métèques’, and ‘proud beggars’.

Where do we place these exilic voices within the Egyptian artistic canon, or turath? The exigencies of the present demand that we answer: right at its heart. This lecture is about the right to be different, the unimportance of language, and the politics of not being political.

A book signing of the Diaries of Waguih Ghali will take place after the lecture and Q&A.

May Hawas is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the AUC The American University in Cairo, and Associate Editor and co-founder of the Journal of World Literature (Brill Publishers). She received her PhD in Literature from KU Leuven University, has been offered visiting scholar positions in France and Germany, and has received grants from the US, Belgium and Egypt. May is the author of The Diaries of Waguih Ghali: An Egyptian Writer in the Swinging Sixties, Vols. 1 and 2 (The American University in Cairo Press (AUC Press), 2016 and 2017), and has published a number of articles, book chapters, and short stories. Her work has appeared in the Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, the Journal of World Literature, and Comparative Literature Studies, while her stories have been published in Mizna: Journal of Arab American Art, Yellow Medicine and African Writing.

! attention !
The number of seats is limted. Our doors open at 5:30 and close at 6:15 or earlier in case the lecture room has reached its full capacity (out of safety considerations).

Films: NVICinema

On Sunday evenings the NVIC is presenting NVICinema. We bring a varied programme of Dutch or Flemish films, Egyptian classics as well as contemporary Egyptian feature films and short films from young talented directors, all with English subtitles.

Whenever possible we organise lively discussions with the films' directors after the screenings. 

All films start at 7.30pm – doors open from 7 pm.

Keep checking this website and our Facebook page for more information about the programme.  

The Battle of Algiers

Gillo Pontecorvo | Algeria/Italy| 1966
Sunday 8 October

In his Oscar-winning 1966 Italian-Algerian classic, director Gillo Pontecorvo tells the story of Algeria’s epic fight of Independence. Shot in the streets of Algiers in pseudo- documentary black and white style, the Battle of Algiers is one of the most powerful historical dramas of all time.

Language: Arabic and French (with English subtitles)
Original music: Ennio Morricone
Duration: 120 minutes

The Lebanese Rocket Society

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige | Lebanon, France, Qatar 2012
Sunday 15 October

In the early 1960s, a group of students from the Haigazian University led by their mathematics professor, Manoug Manougian, designed and launched rockets to study and understand space exploration. Although the program was successful, it came to a sudden end in 1967 and was erased from the collective memory. Through testimonies and archival documents, the film retraces this adventure and attempts to revive the past in the present, while avoiding the temptation of nostalgia.

Language: Arabic with English Subtitles
Duration: 95 minutes

At Titi’s balcony

Yasmina Benari | France/ Egypt | 2016
Sunday 22 October

Titi is a 84-year-old Jewish Egyptian communist. Through his identity, his friends, his battles, and his civic choices, he embodies the polyglot, politicized, and secular country that once was. From his balcony, facing his “piece of Midan,” a part of the world renowned Tahrir Square, he has watched history unfold since 1935. At Titi's Balcony is a voyage, oscillating between inner and outer worlds. As you open the blinds, you will experience the space between Titi's colorful past, fleeting images of the present, and the onrushing kaleidoscope we call the future.

Language: French with English Subtitles
Duration: 94 minutes

Last Modified: 17-10-2017