PhD Oral Exam - Viviane Saglier, Film and Moving Image Studies
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
As scholarship on hegemonic media industries thrives in the Global North, how can we understand the emerging film economies in the South without perpetuating the discourse that they are simply “catching up”? This dissertation follows scholars of critical media industries studies, transnational cinema, and postcolonial studies to examine industry as a process in constant formation – grounded in cultural, socio-economic, and political history. In other words, industry constitutes an epistemic system that produces value, legitimacy, and modes of organization. This research analyzes a range of transnational funding streams, film festivals in Palestine, and Palestinian films produced since the Second Intifada onwards. It investigates the infrastructural and material conditions of possibility as well as the imaginaries that sustain the project of a transnational Palestinian film industry. Such a project takes root in the Palestinian civil society, in the paradoxical contexts of development under colonization in the proto-state of Palestine and the multicultural settler state of Israel. This dissertation uncovers the paradoxical present of cultural and political negotiations, attempts, and uncertainties involved in developing Palestinian film practices that are “not-yet” industries.
Each chapter investigates the temporalities that specific developmental economies produce and how Palestinian film practitioners respond to it. The emerging Palestinian film economy is enmeshed in the peace process’ ideal of stability enforced through counterinsurgency (Chapter Two); the imperative of sustainability that drives human development economies (Chapter Three); the emergency that structures humanitarian economies (Chapter Four); and the promise of recognition by liberal and settler multiculturalism (Chapter Five). Palestinians adapt to these contexts by devising strategies that draw from global imaginaries, militant histories, regional human rights networks and international anticolonial struggles. By focusing on temporality to explain transnational, colonial, and postcolonial power relations, each chapter asks how political histories shape media economies, and how media economies forge political futures. This dissertation contributes to interdisciplinary conversations around media and development by bridging media industries studies, postcolonial studies, postdevelopment theory, and critical media infrastructure studies.