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Kay Dickinson

Professor, Cinema

Kay Dickinson
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4634

Kay Dickinson's research is dedicated to thinking through how various media function amid and in resistance to the machinations of transnational global capital. In particular, her recent mongraphs, Arab Cinema Travels: Transnational Syria, Palestine, Dubai and Beyond (British Film Institute Press, 2016) and Arab Film and Video Manifestos (Palgrave, 2018) involve themselves in examples, practices and analytical modes from the Arab world. Her articles on popular, experimental and revolutionary Arab media have appeared in Screen, Camera Obscura, Framework and Cinema Journal, she is the co-editor of two anthologies on these topics and has contributed to two film festivals in the West Bank. Competitive fellowships for this research have taken her to Cornell University, as well as to Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. In 2019, she was the Distinguished Visiting Professor at MICA (Mudra Institute of Communications) in Ahmedabad, India.  At present, she is working towards a monograph entitled Supply Chain Cinema, Supply Chain Education.  

A constant concern for labour practices, histories and rights inflects Kay’s work. Her first monograph, Off Key: When Film and Music Won’t Work Together (Oxford University Press, 2008), sought to understand the film and music industries’ traditions of production, representation, dissemination and consumption in line with the broader employment landscapes of so-called post-Fordism and the rise of the creative economy culture. Supply Chain Cinema, Supply Chain Education, her current project, focuses on off-shored film production within free zones that is facilitated through the principles of logistics.



  • Arab Film and Video Manifestos: Forty-Five Years of the Moving Image Amid Revolution. New York: Palgrave, 2018.

  • Arab Cinema Travels: Syria, Palestine, Dubai and Beyond. London: BFI/Bloomsbury, 2016.

  • Film Studies: A Global Introduction. Co-authored with Amy Villarejo, Glyn Davis and Lisa Patti. London: Routledge, 2015.

  • Off Key: When Film and Music Won’t Work Together. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Edited Collections

  • The Arab Archive: Mediated Memories and Digital Flows (with Donatella Della Ratta and Sune Haugbolle). Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2020.

  • The Arab Avant-Garde: Music, Politics, Modernity (with Thomas Burkhalter and Benjamin J. Harbert). Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2013.

  • Teen TV: Genre, Consumption and Identity (with Glyn Davis). London: bfi publishing, 2004. 

  • Movie Music, The Film Reader. London: Routledge, 2002.

Special Issue Journal Editorships

  • “Teaching Film and Media Against the Global Right” (with Priya Jaikumar). Journal of Cinema and Media Studies Teaching Dossier Vol. 5 No. 1 (Summer 2018)

  • “In Focus –Arab Uprisings” in The Cinema Journal Vol. 51. No. 1 (Fall 2012).


Selected Publications in Journals

  • “Manifesto Writing as Populist Praxis.” CultureMachine Vol. TBD, forthcoming.

  • “Re-Citation and Resuscitation from the Archives of Arab Revolution.” Screen 60:1 (Spring 2019): 1-25.

  • “A Conversation on Media and Logistics with Deborah Cowen and Kay Dickinson – Interviewed by Patrick Brodie.” Synoptique 8:1 (March 2019) 104-110.

  • “At What Cost“Theory”? An Economics and Poetics of Uptake.” Framework 56:2 (Fall 2015): 433-450.

  • “Syrian Cinema: Out of Time?” Screening the Past 31 (September 2012).

  • The State of Labor and Labor for the State: Syrian and Egyptian Cinema beyond the 2011Uprisings.” Framework 53:1 (Spring 2012): 99-116.

  • “'I Have One Daughter and that is Egyptian Cinema': Aziza Amir amid the Histories and Geographies of National Allegory.” Camera Obscura 22:1 64 (2007):137-77.

  • “Report on the First Ramallah International Film Festival.” Screen 46:2 (2005): 265-274.

  • “The Limits of Celebrity‘Multi-Tasking’: Pop Stars Who Can’t Act.” MediaActive (2004): 74-85.

  • “Pop and Speed: Compilation Soundtracks and the MTV Aesthetic.” Scope (June 2001):

  • “'Believe'?: Vocoders, Digital Women and Camp.” Popular Music 20:2 (2001): 333-347.

  • “Wendy Carlos: The Synthesizer, the Soundtrack and Transgender Identity.” Radical Deviance (1998): 20-23.

Selected Chapters in Books

  • “Supply Chain Cinema, Supply Chain Education: Training Creative Wizardry for Offshored Exploitation.” In Assembly Codes: The Logistics of Media, edited by Matthew Hockenberry, Nicole Starosielski and Susan Zeiger. Durham: Duke University Press, forthcoming.

  • “Import-Re-Export: Reconsidering the Film Festival as a Port Economy.” In Reorienting with the Gulf: Film and Digital Media between the Middle East and South Asia, edited by Alia Yunis and Dale Hudson. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, forthcoming.

  • “‘Make It What You Want It to Be’: Logistics, Labour and the Financialization of Land Via the Globalized Free Zone Studio.” In The Studio: Space, Form, Materiality, edited by Brian Jacobson. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2020.

  • “Funding the “Creative Documentary”: An Art Cinema of Refugees.” With Viviane Saglier. In Histories of Arab Documentary, edited by Viola Shafik. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, forthcoming.

  • “More Than Just Extras: FAMU Within Czechoslovak-Syrian Relations.” (Also translated into Czech) In Filmmakers of the World, Unite! The Forgotten Internationalism of FAMU, edited by Tereza Stejskalová. Prague:Tranzit, 2018.

  • ““Everyone’s Property”: Video Copying, Poetry and Revolution in Arab West Asia.” In Asian Video Cultures, edited by Bhaskar Sarkar and Joshua Neves. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018.

  • “Pop and Speed: Compilation Soundtracks and the MTV Aesthetic.”Reprinted in Popular Music and Multimedia Popular Music and Multimedia, edited by Julie McQuinn. Oxford: Ashgate, 2011.

  • “The Palestinian Road (Block) Movie: Everyday Geographies of Second Intifada Filmmaking.” In Cinema at the Periphery, edited by Dina Iordanova et al,201-227. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2010.

  • “Changes in Direction: Ken Russell and the Limits of Experimental Television.” In British Experimental Television, edited by Laura Mulvey and Jamie Sexton, 70-88. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007.

  • "Troubling Synthesis: The Horrific Sights and Incompatible Sounds of“Video Nasties.”” In Sleaze Artists: Cinema at the Margins of Taste, Style and Politics, edited by Jeffrey Sconce, 167-188. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007

  • "Music, Video and Synaesthetic Possibility.” In Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones, edited by Roger Beebe and Jason Middleton,13-29. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007

  • “'Believe'?: Vocoders, Digital Women and Camp.” Re-printed in Music, Space and Place: Popular Music and Cultural Identity, edited by Sheila Whiteley, Andy Bennett and Stan Hawkins, 163-180. Oxford: Ashgate, 2004. Reprinted again in Pop Music and Easy Listening, edited by Stan Hawkins Oxford: Ashgate 2011.Reprinted again in Sound Studies, edited by Michael Bull. London and New York: Routledge, 2013. 

Teaching activities

Courses taught to date:
BA: Methods in Film Studies; Women's Work; Arab Cinemas; Transnational Approaches to Cinema; Film Studies Specialization Seminar
MA: Arab Revolutions; Sounds of Struggle; Cinema Behind Bars: Film and the Prison Industrial Complex
PhD: Pro-Seminar (Academic Labour); Textual Troubleshooting

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