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Peter Limbrick

Photo of Peter Limbrick in a blue shirt.
Professor, Film & Digital Media
Department Chair, Film & Digital Media
Affiliated Faculty: Feminist Studies, History of Art and Visual Culture
Arab and Middle Eastern Cinemas; Postcolonial and transnational cinemas; settler colonialism; queer theory; race, gender, sexuality.
Research Interests: 

Peter Limbrick is Professor of Film and Digital Media. He is the author of Arab Modernism as World Cinema: the Films of Moumen Smihi (University of California Press, 2020) and of Making Settler Cinemas: Film and Colonial Encounters in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand (Palgrave, 2010). He has published articles in Framework, Visual Anthropology, Third Text, Screening the PastCamera Obscura, and Journal of Visual Culture as well as edited anthologies. 

Professor Limbrick’s first book, Making Settler Cinemas, studies the material and cultural relations of cinema and settler coloniality in the three sites of his title, all of which are embedded in British imperial history and marked by their own distinctive settler colonial politics. His book reveals the ways in which the modes of film production, distribution, reception, and representation in and between those settler societies construct a transnational politics of settler-indigenous encounter. But his book also reveals the possibilities for resisting and reconfiguring those colonial histories through the ongoing work of film archives, indigenous exhibition and guardianship, and even in the labor of film history itself. 

Professor Limbrick’s recent work is on Arab film and video and extends his interest in cinema in colonial and postcolonial environments. His book Arab Modernism as World Cinema, on the Moroccan director Moumen Smihi, a central figure in the New Arab Cinema that took hold in the Maghreb (Northern Africa) in the early 1970s, will be published by the University of California Press in spring, 2020 (an essay from this project has been published in a special issue of the journal Third Text.) As part of this project, he has curated a retrospective of Smihi's work which has shown at the Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; the Block Cinema, Chicago, and the Tate Modern (UK). With Omnia El-Shakry, he organized the symposium Unfixed Itineraries: Film and Visual Culture from Arab Worlds at UCSC in 2013. He has published two essays on the Palestinian filmmaker Kamal Aljafari, and continues to research on experimental film and video from North Africa, Syria, and Lebanon. 

A related aspect of his research is the relationship between discourses of colonialism, globalization, and sexuality, especially queer or non-normative constructions of gender and sexuality in transnational cinemas.

Phone: 831-459-1354
Fax: 831-459-3395
Office: 103 Communications
Selected Publications: 


Arab Modernism as World Cinema: The Films of Moumen Smihi (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020).

(Winner of the L. Carl Brown book prize, American Institute of Maghrib Studies, 2021)

Making Settler Cinemas: Film and Colonial Encounters in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand (New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan 2010)


"14.3 Seconds: Politics, Art, and the Archival Imagination. Visual Anthropology 29.3 (2016):211-28.

"Vernacular Modernism, Film Culture, and Moroccan Short Film and Documentary." Framework 56.2 (2015): 388-413.

"After Effects." In "Militarism: a mini-forum."  Society and Space: Environment and Planning D web journal.  Online.  Sept. 25, 2012.

“Moumen Smihi’s Tanjawi/Tangérois/Tangerian Cinema.” Third Text 117 (2012): 443-454.

“Contested Spaces: Kamal Aljafari’s Transnational Palestinian Films”, in A Companion to German Cinema, ed. Andrea Mensch and Terri Ginsberg. Oxford, Blackwell, 2012. 218-48

“From the Interior: Space, Time, and Queer Discursivity in Kamal Aljafari’s The Roof.” In The Cinema of Me: The Self and Subjectivity in First Person Documentary Film, ed. Alisa Lebow.  London: Wallflower, 2012.  96-115.

 “Playing Empire: Settler Masculinities, Adventure, and Merian C. Cooper’s The Four Feathers (US, 1929).” Screening the Past 26 (2010). Online.

“Looking Round The Seekers: Film History and Film Culture.” Historical Review 56.1 (2008): 7-10.

“'The Stallion Who Became a Gelding Who Became a Mayor:’ Georgie Girl.” Camera Obscura 67 (2008): 188-97.

“The Flotsam and Jetsam of Film History: Hei Tiki and Postcolonial Translations.” journal of visual culture 6.2 (2007): 247-53.

“The Australian Western, or, a Settler Colonial Cinema par excellence.” Cinema Journal 46.4 (2007): 68-95.

"Whole Men?: Re-Reading Masculinity in Frank Sargeson's Stories." Journal of New Zealand Literature  14 (1996): 4-23.

"(De)Colonising the Casbah: Masculinity and the Colonialist Imaginary in Pépé le Moko."  New Literatures Review  30 (1995): 17-29.

Education and Training: 
PhD, La Trobe University, Australia
MA (Distinction), University of Otago, New Zealand
BA (Honors), University of Otago, New Zealand
Teaching Interests: 

Middle Eastern and Arab film and video; intersections of postcolonial, queer, and transnational theories; Australasian cinema; introduction to film and video analysis.