Sunya

Samhita Sunya

Assistant Professor of Cinema

041 New Cabell Hall

Office Hours: Tuesday 10:45AM -2:30 PM Wednesday 3:15PM -4:45PM Additional meeting times available by appointment via Zoom.
Class Schedule:

 

Spring 2021

TuTh 9:30 - 10:45 AM: "Spies in Action: Cine-Media Worlds of Espionage"

MW 2:00-3:15 PM: "A Thousand and One Nights at the Cinema"

Fall 2020

TuTh 9:30 - 10:45 AM: "Transnational Circuits of Cinema: Intro to Middle East - South Asia Film History"

MW 2:00 - 3:15 PM: "Film Festivals & Global Media Cultures: Middle East - South Asia Spotlight"

Spring 2020

TuTh 9:30 - 10:45 AM: "Spies in Action: Cine-Media Worlds of Espionage"

W 3:30 - 5:00 PM: "Via Asia" Forum Capstone (Co-Taught with Professor Natasha Heller)

Fall 2019

On research leave

Spring 2019

TuTh 9:30 - 10:45 AM: "Transnational Circuits of Cinema: Intro to Middle East - South Asia Film History"

Fall 2018

"Via Asia" Introductory Forum Course (Co-Taught with Professor Natasha Heller)

"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

"Transnational Circuits of Cinema: Intro to Middle East - South Asia Film History"

"Film Festivals & Global Media Cultures: Middle East - South Asia Spotlight"

Spring 2017

"Cinephilia & Global Modernity"

"A Thousand and One Nights at the Cinema"

Fall 2016

"Transnational Circuits of Cinema: Intro to Middle East - South Asia Film History"

"Cinematic Shakespeare: Middle East – South Asia Histories of Shakespeare on Film”

 

Specialties:

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

Bio:

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 and beyond the Middle East. Supported by a Spring 2018 residence at Yale University and a 2018-2019 Mellon Humanities Fellowship, I am completing a manuscript titled Sirens of Modernity: World Cinema Via Bombay (under advance contract with University of California Press), which historicizes the institutionalization of the category of “world cinema” in the politics of the Cold War, and the manner in which popular Hindi film/songs negotiated their own worldly circuits through melodramatic arguments about popular cinephilia. A second project, tentatively titled Agents on Location, explores South-South histories of location shooting and espionage genres, as intertwined with informal and clandestine practices of film distribution. My interests span world film history; feminist historiography; informal practices of media distribution across South / West Asia and the Indian Ocean; intersections of audio-visual media and literary forms; and sound studies. I also have a curatorial background in the collaborative administration of film series and festivals--most recently, as a Guest Programmer for the Virginia Film Festival. 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:

2021 - “Worldly Matters: Distributed Histories of Tunisian Amateur Cinema and the Screening of Nontheatrical Film,” Masha Salazkina, Enrique Fibla, Eds., A Global History of Amateur Film Cultures, Indiana University Press, pp. 261-277

2020 - [Special issue guest co-editor, with Kaveh Askari]. “Introduction: South by South / West Asia: Transregional Histories of Middle East - South Asia Cinemas,” Film History 32.3, pp. 1-9.

2020 - “On Location: Tracking Secret Agents and Films, Between Bombay and Beirut,” Film History 32.3, pp. 105-140

2020 - [Co-authored with Kaveh Askari] "Editors' Note: On a Press Booklet for Black Eyes (1936)," Film History  32.3, pp. 191-196

2020 - "A 1973 Aramco World Magazine Feature on Location Shooting in Lebanon," Film History  32.3, pp. 223-231.

2020 – "High-Fidelity Ecologies: India versus Noise Pollution in the Contemporary Public Sphere," Laura Brueck, Jacob Smith, Neil Verma Eds., Indian Sound Cultures, Indian Sound Citizenship, University of Michigan Press: 2020, pp. 88-112.

2019 – "Curatorial Reflections on Letters of Love: A Trio of Transregional Genre Comedies," in Jump Cut 59: Fall, 2019.

2019 – "From Seoul to Cinemascapes: The Private Lives of Contemporary Cine-Tourism in (and out) of India," Robert Ji-Song Ku, Sharon Lee, Monika Mehta Eds., Pop Empires: Transnational and Diasporic Flows of India and Korea, University of Hawaii Press: 2019, pp. 195-208.

2019 – "The Bubble (2006, Eylan Fox)," Howard Chiang, Anjali Arondekar, Marc Epprecht, Jennifer Evans, Ross G. Forman, Hanadi Al-Samman, Emily Skidmore, and Zeb Tortorici Eds., Global Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History, Farmington Hills: C. Scribner's Sons / Gale Cengage.

2019 – "An Interview with Aden-Based Director Amr Gamal," in Jadaliyaa E-zine, Arab Studies Institute

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

2013 – Book Review: The Sexual Life of English: Languages of Caste and Desire in Colonial India, by Shefali Chandra, in South Asian History and Culture, 4:3, 417-419,

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 work:

2019  – "On Love: Of Cities, of Cinema," November 2019, Virginia Film Festival

2019 – "Family Trees: Roots & Routes," November 2019, Virginia Film Festival

2018  – "Sadat Hassan Manto from Story to Screen: A Special Screening & Conversation with (Screen)Writer/Poet/Dramatist Sarmad Sehbai," in collaboration with Mehr Farooqi and Bilal Hashmi, November 2018, University of Virginia

2018 – "Rites of Remembrance from the Global South: Screening Pasts, Presents, and Possibilities," November 2018, Virginia Film Festival

2018 – "Letters of Love (LOL): From the Middle East to South Asia - A Film Series of Contemporary Genre Comedies in U.S. Premieres," November 2018, Virginia Film Festival

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, DePaul University, Society for Cinema & Media Studies Annual Conference

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