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Peter Limbrick

Peter Limbrick, Faculty Leader

Associate Professor, Film & Digital Media
Director of Graduate Studies, PhD Program
Affiliated Faculty: Feminist Studies, History of Art and Visual Culture
Areas of expertise: Arab and Middle Eastern Cinemas; Postcolonial and transnational cinemas; settler colonialism; queer theory; race, gender, sexuality. 

Peter Limbrick is Associate 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 Past, Camera Obscura, and Journal of Visual Culture as well as edited anthologies. 

Professor Limbrick’s most recent and ongoing research is on Arab film and video, extending his long 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. 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 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 globalization and sexuality, especially queer or non-normative constructions of gender and sexuality in transnational cinemas.

A Message to Students and Parents

I’m thrilled to be leading this first-ever UCSC study abroad program to Morocco. I know full well the benefits of studying abroad, having grown up in New Zealand, completed a PhD in Australia, and done a study abroad year at UCLA before moving to the US in 1999. My research has taken me to Rabat many times since 2010, when I first started researching a new book on a Moroccan filmmaker (which will be published just before we depart on our program). Since that time, I’ve developed a deep knowledge of Moroccan cinema and formed great friendships and relationships with Moroccan filmmakers, writers, and curators. I speak French (advanced) and Arabic (intermediate). I have often dreamed of introducing UCSC students to this amazing country and letting them experience the richness and diversity of the place, in which the ancient and the contemporary jostle each other at every turn, making for an exciting culture of the arts. Language is the key to unlocking some of this richness, and whether it’s a first introduction to Arabic or an extension to previous study, the program lets students open the gateway to a better understanding of Morocco and the Arab world through Arabic language. Opening that gateway through study can be a transformative thing at a moment when, as Americans, we’re often encouraged to be suspicious and worried about the world rather than inquisitive and generous. As well as studying cinema and the arts and learning language in Rabat, we’ll also embark on explorations to other towns and places (like Tangier, Tetouan, Chefchaouen, Fez, Marrakesh, and Casablanca) where our learning will come alive through all the sights, sounds, tastes, and intellectual stimulus that Morocco can offer. It will be my privilege to be there with students to begin that journey.