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Robert Watson

Lecturer of Cinema Studies

Robert Watson’s research and teaching center on cinema’s role in representing the nation, empires, and struggles for independence and recognition during decolonization. He is particularly interested in cinema’s role in constructing visual sovereignty, the right to represent oneself and one’s community in global cinemascape, in opposition to dominant views from cinematic metropolises, namely Hollywood and Paris.

His research focuses specifically on the Mediterranean as a visual and historical space of colonization and decolonization, homeland and diaspora, “native” languages and pluri-lingualism. His publications include analyses of cosmopolitanism in Mediterranean cinemas, encompassing the Jewish diasporas of Morocco, Tunisia, and Lebanon as represented in France and Israel. Currently, he is working on a book project tentatively entitled, “Who Controls the Screens? Visual Sovereignty during the Decolonization of the Maghreb and Middle East, 1930-1967”.

More About Me

Watson received his PhD in French Language, Literature, and Cinema at Vanderbilt University. He has taught classes in film, media, and cultural studies at Stetson University and SUNY, Purchase College.

In Watson’s classes, students explore the formal and narrative power of cinema to create and critique collective identities. Watson is particularly interested in the way that moving images allow us to imagine and reimagine ourselves in community, whether ethnic, national, linguistic, or diasporic.

Representative Courses

  • CIN 1510 Intro to Cinema Studies II
  • CIN 3847 Israeli and Palestinian Cinema
  • CIN 3850 Francophone Cinema
  • CIN 3855 French Cinema


“Next year in Beirut? Lebanese Jewish identity and memory in the Mediterranean francosphère,” Francospheres, 2017.

“Second Languages, Second Births: Karin Albou, Ronit Elkabetz, and the Rediscovery of Mediterranean Jewish Multilingualism” in Bicultural Literature and Film in French and English, Routledge, 2016.

“Coproducing Nostalgia across the Mediterranean: Visions of the Jewish-Muslim Past in French-Tunisian Cinema,” Politics: Rivista di Studi Politici, Summer 2016.