Samhita Sunya

Assistant Professor of Cinema

Ph.D, Rice University, 2014


Middle East studies, South Asia studies, world film history, sound studies, visual culture, postcolonial theory, contemporary literature

B041 New Cabell Hall

Office Hours

Th 9:15AM - 12:15PM

Class Schedule:

Fall 2018

TuTh 2:00 PM - 3:50 PM: "Via Asia" Introductory Forum Course (Co-Taught with Professor Natasha Heller)

W 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM: "Film Festivals & Global Media Cultures: Middle East - South Asia Spotlight"

Spring 2018

On research leave at the Whitney & Betty MacMillan Center for International & Area Studies at Yale University.

Fall 2017

Tu 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM: "Transnational Circuits of Cinema: Middle East - South Asia Film History"

We 6:00 PM 0 8:30 PM: "Film Festivals & Global Media Cultures: Middle East - South Asia Spotlight"

Spring 2017

Tu 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM: "Cinephilia & Global Modernity"

We 6:00 PM 0 8:30 PM: "A Thousand and One Nights at the Cinema"

Fall 2016

Tu 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM: "Transnational Circuits of Cinema: Middle East - South Asia Film History"

We 6:00 PM 0 8:30 PM: "Cinematic Shakespeare: Middle East – South Asia Histories of Shakespeare on Film”



After completing my PhD at Rice University (2014), I joined the American University of Beirut as an Assistant Professor of Visual Culture.  My location in Lebanon for two years (2014 - 2016) complemented my earlier fieldwork at the National Film Archive of India, enabling me to further probe postwar circulation histories of Hindi film/songs across the Middle East.  I have been working on a manuscript titled Sirens of Modernity: World Cinema Via Bombay, which historicizes the emergence of “world cinema” as a category in the politics of the Cold War, and the manner in which Hindi film/songs negotiated this category.  My interests span world film history; South / West Asian cinemas; intersections of audio-visual media and literature; and sound studies.  I also have a curatorial background in the collaborative administration of film series and festivals.  I teach survey courses and specialized seminars in Middle East - South Asia film histories, in addition to Middle East - South Asia-focused thematic courses on topics such as cinephilia, adaptation, and genre; methods courses in areas such as film programming, sound studies, and film festival studies; among so many other possibilities that lie ahead! 

Select publications:

2017 – “Moving Towards prem nagar: An Intimate Genealogy of the ‘City of Love’ and the Lyrical Worlds of Hindustani Film Songs,” in “Aesthetics of Space in Indian Cinema” Special Issue of positions: asia critique 25:1, Duke University Press, pp. 51-99

2016 – Film Festival Review – Cultural Resistance International Film Festival of Lebanon. In Jadaliyaa E-zine, Arab Studies Institute

2013 – “‘It is Written’ (in Invisible Ink): Slumdog Millionaire's Sfx and the Realist Overwriting of Bollywood Spectacle,” Ajay Gehlawat Ed., The Slumdog Phenomenon: A Critical Anthology, Anthem Books: 2013, pp. 121-139.

Select curatorial works:

2018 - "Letters of Love (LOL): From the Middle East to South Asia - A Film Series of Contemporary Genre Comedies in Special U.S. Preview Presentations," April 2018, Yale University

2017 - "Migrations and Mediations: The Politics of Movement" in collaboration with co-curators Nilo Couret & EJ Basa, March 2017, DePaul University, Society for Cinema & Media Studies Annual Conference

2016 - "Urban Intimacies," May 2016, American University of Beirut

Hanadi Al-Samman

Griffith Chaussee

Richard Cohen

Tessa Farmer

Mehr Farooqi

Zvi Gilboa

Nizar F. Hermes

Robert Hueckstedt

Bilal Humeidan

Daniel Lefkowitz

Bilal Maanaki

Farzaneh Milani

Suad Mohamed

Mahshad Mohit

Shankar Nair

Abdul Nasir

Geeta Patel

Mohammed Sawaie

Samhita Sunya