Accepted paper:

Diagrammatic coffee readings: mapping Syrian revolutionary futures


Charlotte Loris-rodionoff (UCL)

Paper short abstract:

How can diagrams of coffee readings help us understand how Syrians perceive their revolution's outcomes? This paper explores « openings of coffee » that bring together ruptures and disruptions presenting revolution's future transformations and figuring its reinvention.

Paper long abstract:

In the midst of revolutionary changes - some intended (ruptures) and others not (disruptions) - what kind of futures are Syrians imagining? The Syrian uprising and its violent repression had for consequence the massive displacement of its population to neighbouring countries and Europe. In exile, revolutionary transformations were reimagined as social rather than political and as to happen in a future, elsewhere. In order to locate where one will realize the looked for and promised revolutionary changes (on an intimate rather than collective scale and in the social rather than political domain) Syrian women sometimes « open coffee » to see the road to follow. Indeed, the sessions of coffee readings often speak of migration, return to Syria, and predict the revolution's outcomes. In this paper I explore the diagrammatic qualities of the drawings left by coffee bean on the small coffee cups after one has drunk its beverage. One can easily make diagrams from these patterns that illustrate Syrian revolution's uncertain outcomes in its aftermath. Through the translation of these drawings into diagrams I argue that one better senses the disruptive consequences of revolution, as well as the potential ruptures that can still be enacted in the future. Indeed, through the diagrams one discovers that fleeing to Europe, going back to Syria and staying put in Turkey can all be grasped not only as (un)intended consequences of revolution but also as revolutionary actions.

panel Pol06
Diagrams of revolution: an experiment with social and material morphologies