Rafei’s dissertation examines contemporary queer moving image works from Lebanon and its diaspora through an interdisciplinary approach using film and media studies, Middle Eastern studies, queer theory, and ethnography. The project demonstrates that queer Lebanese artists have forged a unique queer imaginary drawing from local and regional cultures, histories, and archives while adopting, contesting, and reimagining western references. Rafei argues that film and artworks from Lebanon help us understand Arab queer subjectivities in new complex ways. They produce speculative and utopian visions in response to local, regional and global contexts and realities, and they redefine the relation of the individual to the collective, be it at the communal, national, or international levels.
Rafei is an awardee of the 2022 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow.