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Sana Tannoury-Karam

Sana Tannoury-Karam


Sana Tannoury-Karam is a historian of the modern Middle East and global history, working on the intellectual history of the Arab left. She is currently a EUME fellow (2020/2021) at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin. She was most recently an Early Career Fellow at the Arab Council for Social Sciences (2019-2020) and a Post-Doctoral Fellow in History at Rice University (2018-2019). Tannoury-Karam received her Ph.D. in World History from Northeastern University in 2017, with a special focus on modern Middle East history. Prior to her Ph.D., she completed MA degrees in history (Northeastern University) and in political studies (American University of Beirut). Her work has appeared in a range of publications including the Journal of World History, Jadaliyya, Megaphone, and Trafo Blog. Her most recent publication is a co-edited volume The League Against Imperialism: Lives and Afterlives that came out with Leiden University Press in September 2020.

Red Flags in the Streets of Beirut: An Intellectual and Cultural History of the Lebanese Left, 1920-1948”

The book project combines social and biographic history with intellectual history approaches to recover the ways Arab leftist intellectuals engaged with the political sphere and negotiated their presence within new structures of power emerging in post-war Lebanon. It is an intellectual history of a generation of leftists who were active in Lebanon, and more generally in the Levant, between the years 1920 and 1948. Tannoury-Karam chronicles the political organization and activism of a group of intellectuals who advocated for social justice, the international solidarity of the working class, the need to fight capitalism, and the interconnectivity between the class struggle and the anti-imperialist struggle. She examines how this milieu of leftists built upon the intellectual traditions of the nineteenth-century Nahda and pushed its temporal limits and its scope by further politicizing the role and figure of the ‘intellectual’ (al-muthaqqaf). The project shows how Arab leftists combined commitments to internationalism, nationalism, and anti-imperialism, and how they deliberately sought to be local and global actors simultaneously. Contrary to mainstream nationalist elites who dominated the political parties of the Mandate era, these Arab leftists opposed sectarian politics propagated by local elite and colonial administrators, organized against the rise of fascism, demanded political rights for women, and fought against the growing capitalist pull in the absence of laws to protect workers and peasants.


This War is Our War: Anti-Fascism Among Lebanese Leftist Intellectuals during World War Two”, Journal of World History 30, no. 3 (September 2019).

Edited Books:

Co-Editor ofThe League Against Imperialism: Lives and Afterlives. (Leiden University Press, 2020).

Book Chapters:

“Long Live the Revolutionary Alliance Against Imperialism: Interwar Anti-Imperialism and the Arab Levant”, in The League Against Imperialism: Lives and Afterlives. (Leiden University Press, 2020).

No Place for Neutrality: the Case for Democracy and the League Against Nazism and Fascism in Syria and Lebanon”, Anti-Fascism in a Global Perspective: Transnational Networks, Exile Communities, and Radical Internationalism. (Routledge, 2021).

Reaching the People