Mr Robert White

Research project: Beyond Partition: A topology of al-shatat in Post-Palestinian Cinema


The corpus of films in this thesis highlights a tendency in contemporary Palestinian Cinema towards an emergent spatial consciousness. That is, the contemporaneity of these films manifests itself in thinking through a politics of space and territory at a time of political impasse, demonstrating cinema's capacity to think the political otherwise. Arguing against a persistent and stubborn partitioning of the cinemas of Palestine and Israel, this thesis aims to show how the films under study both explicitly question the contemporary political stasis and imply a logical impossibility of the very idea of partition. The thesis employs a topological methodology of place and cinematic image to think both the relation of discrete yet convergent territorial topologies of Palestinian cinema and the liminal zone of indistinction between Palestinian and Israeli cinema. This topology of al shatat (the diaspora) situates the cinematic spaces and subjectivities of Palestine-Israel as four elements of a topological field; the interior (al-dakhil), the West Bank, estrangement (al-ghurba) and the camp (al-mukhayyam). The encounter between the Arab al-dakhil, the exilic/diasporic Palestinian and the West Bank Palestinian in conjunction with force of law reconfigures the cinematic ‘territories' of contemporary Palestinian cinema, not as topographical locations, but topological processes. The thesis concludes with a reflection on the emergence of a post-Palestinian consciousness in contemporary Palestinian cinema between exile and the interior, one which embraces liminality as a critical position from which to resist the idea of stasis.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Beyond Partition: A topology of al-shatat in Post-Palestinian Cinema
  • Research supervisor: Dr Hager Weslati
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Corin Depper


My research employs a topological method to examine the discrete but connected territorial spaces of Palestine-Israel on film, arguing that they articulate radically different ways of seeing. I have presented my work at numerous conferences both in the UK and in Europe, including Film-Philosophy. I am co-editor of, and contributor to the edited volume Spaces of Crisis and Critique: Heterotopias Beyond Foucault, which was published by Bloomsbury in September 2018.

In my teaching practice, I have taught on Film Studies and Media and Communication modules at both BA and MA level at Kingston, as well as teaching year 1 Screen Studies at the University of Brighton. Regarding my professional development, I hold Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, having completed Introduction to Learning and Teaching 1.  

Areas of research interest

  • Film Studies
  • Critical Theory
  • Continental Philosophy
  • Postcolonial Theory
  • Palestine Studies


  • MA Film Studies, Kingston University, (Distinction)
  • BA Politics, University of Leicester


Book Chapter:

'Spacing the Interior: The carceral body as heterotopia in contemporary Palestinian Cinema', in Spaces of Crisis and Critique: Heterotopias Beyond Foucault. Eds. A. Faramelli, D. Hancock, R. White. London: Bloomsbury.

Conference papers

Jul 16                            Film-Philosophy Conference 2016, University of Edinburgh

 ‘The Body's Spacing: The Carceral Body as Heterotopia in contemporary Palestinian Cinema'


Apr 16                          FSS Symposium: Space, Place and Identities Onscreen, University of Brighton

 ‘A Cage without walls: Law, biopolitics and space in contemporary Palestinian Cinema'


Jun 15                           FASS Postgraduate Research Conference, Kingston University, London

'The Interiority of the Outside: Surfaces, Walls and domestic space in the films of Kamal Aljafari'


May 15                         Culture and Space Symposium, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey

 ‘Undoing the Border: Thresholds, Interiority and the logic of abandonment in contemporary Palestinian Cinema'


Dec 13                           Rethinking Palestine, University of Vienna, Vienna

 ‘Resisting the Continuum of History: Messianic Time, Violence and Mourning in Palestinian Cinema'


Apr 13                          Work in Progress Seminar, Kingston University, London

 ‘The Space of Catastrophe: Blanchot, Levinas, the il y a and al Nakba'