the fire these times

about me

My name’s joey. I sometimes go by ibn baldwin.

I’m originally from Lebanon, with mixed Palestinian, Italian and Argentinian heritage. I currently live in Switzerland.

I enjoy writing, reading, languages, cinema, photography and pretending to know how to cook. And I miss my dogs quite a lot.

As part of my desire to experiment with words, I identify myself like this: a pessoptimist writer, poetically displaced, intersectionally angry, writing in the protracted now.

The Fire These Times is named after the James Baldwin book ‘The Fire Next Time’. Its overarching philosophy is mutual aid, and more specifically how to adopt mutual aid frameworks to our current world. It is Levant/Meditterranean-focused, but globally-oriented. I am its host, researcher, interviewer and producer.

It is available on Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Radio Public, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Castro and RSS. More to come!

You can also follow the podcast on Instagram and Twitter.

Music by Tarabeat, Logo design by Carl Farra.

If you like what I do, please consider supporting this project with only 1$ a month on Patreon or on You can also do so directly on PayPal if you prefer. Patreon is for monthly, PayPal is for one-offs and BuyMeACoffee has both options.

A previous incarnation of the podcast was called Hummus For Thought and the website still exists now for Lebanon-related analysis and updates.

For a list of my writings, please visit

Current and past work

Associate Doctoral Researcher
University of Zürich, Switzerland

Project Outline:

This project is a study about temporality, or the way we perceive time, in postwar Lebanese cinema between the years 1990 and 2018. The case will be made in this thesis that the Lebanese civil war produced its own temporality, only to be then interpreted/re-imagined in postwar Lebanon/Lebanese cinema. This requires a shift from our usual understanding of linear time to accommodate the reality of a “protracted now”, coined by Walid Sadek, in which the line between past and future is often blurred. The protracted now sets the temporal context of this thesis, a way of studying the past/future while recognising that movies are produced in the present. Thus, this project will ask: how is temporality conceived of in postwar Lebanese cinema when the past is contested and the future is uncertain?

Past Experiences

PhD in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh
(2017 – 2019)
I started my PhD at the University of Edinburgh which I ended up leaving and transferring due to various university practices common to UK HigherEd that are hostile to international students. I was also unable to sustain myself financially.

Regional Editor for the MENA region at IFEX
(2018 – 2019)
I curated IFEX member stories and reports from and about the MENA region for publication on; promoted member content as well as other content important to the region over IFEX’s Twitter account; wrote and promoted regular round-up articles to highlight free expression trends and amplified member voices in the region.

Newsroom editor for the MENA region at Global Voices
I co-lead a team of writers covering the MENA region in English and Arabic responsible for providing a broad and complete coverage of regional citizen media for a global audience. Tasks included community management, volunteer recruitment, publishing, developing online sources, taking care of special coverage scenarios, holding editorial meetings and seek republication partners. I also represented the MENA region at global summits (Cebu, the Philippines, 2015 and Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2017).

MA in Cultural Studies from SOAS, University of London
(2015 – 2016)
My thesis was on the politics of language and was entitled “Jewish Identity and Language Politics: Hebrew, Yiddish and the contemporary debates on Zionism”. Received with distinction.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from the American University of Beirut
(2010 – 2013)
With minors in Public Health and Creative Writing.

Seminars, Lectures and Workshops

Middle East History and Theory (MEHAT) Workshop, Uni. of Chicago, Chicago, USA
Lecture, May 2019
“The Yiddish-Hebrew Kulturkampf: Historical and Contemporary Implications”

Northeast Modern Language Association (NemLA), Washington DC, USA
Lecture/Panel, March 2019
“A Baldwinian Reading of Lebanese-ness”

Citizens, Nations and Migration (CNaM) Network, Uni. of Edinburgh, UK
Screening/Discussion, December 2018
“The Lebanese Migration Experience: A Screening of ‘Zozo’”

Heinrich Böll Stiftung Middle East, Beirut, Lebanon
Panel, November 2018
“Minorities Beyond Ethnic and Religious Divides”

Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) Department, Uni. of Edinburgh, UK
Seminar, October 2018
“Haunting and the Postwar Generation in Lebanese Cinema”

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Lecture, April 2018
“Critical Theory and Practice Panel on Syria”

London School of Economics (LSE), London, UK
Lecture, January 2018
“On the International Men and Gender Equality Survey for the MENA Region”

University of Bologna and Mediateca Gateway, Bologna, Italy
Lecture, March 2017
“On Syria 2011-2017 and Lebanon 2005-2017”

Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK
Lecture, March 2017
“On Syria Stories Map Project”

Womanity Foundation, Soul Cities and Oxfam, Amman, Jordan
Workshop, January 2014
“Social Media and Advocacy for Women’s Rights in the Arab World”

Print Publications

Lebanese-ness and its Others
Book Chapter, January 2021
Book chapter in the Manchester University Press’ James Baldwin Review Vol. 7. 

Black-Palestinian Solidarity: Towards an Intersectionality of Struggles
Book Chapter, May 2019
Book chapter in a book entitled ‘Social Justice and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Approaching Controversial Topics in the Classroom’. Published by University of Toronto Press. 

Enab Baladi: Chronicling the Syrian Revolution
Editor, May 2019
Book editor and preface writer. Published by Bósforo Libros and Amnesty UK, available for free online.

Decay as Political Metaphor in Ely Dagher’s Waves ’98 and Mounia Akl’s Submarine
Essay, January 2019
Essay published in the peer-reviewed journal “REGARDS – revue des arts du spectacle”, published by Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth.

The Civil War’s Ghosts: Events of Memory Seen Through Lebanese Cinema
Book Chapter, November 2017
Book chapter in a book published by Palgrave and entitled ‘The Social Life of Memory: Violence, Trauma, and Testimony in Lebanon and Morocco.’

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