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Mahasen Nasser-Eldin

Media, De Montfort University

Thesis title:

Modern Palestinian Women under the British Mandate: Interpreting History Through Film

My PhD research project will create and analyse visual representations of Palestinian women’s history during British Mandate Palestine (1920-1948) through film. My project has three main conceptual dimensions. The first is concerned with locating women’s agency against dominant structures, exploring how Palestinian women during this period negotiated the politics of colonisation, nationalism and feminism. The second is an investigation into the process of constructing historical narrative and representation through film in a relation of continuity to the present. The third is concerned with film aesthetics, spectatorship and the production of meaning and knowledge.

As sources, the project will draw upon historical records, sound and visual archives, oral history accounts, and historical and contemporary women’s writings and memoirs. Undertaking an interdisciplinary approach which draws upon the fields of film, visual and oral history, anthropology, and gender and sexuality, this research is based on practical work as a form of critical enquiry and will yield two outputs: a creative and reflexive documentary film about the experiences of Palestinian women during British Mandate Palestine; and a written thesis that explores a nuanced understanding of Palestinian women’s feminist politics pre-1948 based on the study of primary sources and the theoretical underpinnings and process of my film practice and archival research.

Research Area

  • Film History, Theory and Criticism
  • Media


  • “Practice as Research: We Carve Words in the Earth and the Writing of Historical Narratives through Film”, Doing Women’s Film & Television History V Conference, 2021, Maynooth University, Ireland.

  • “A Subaltern Feminist Narrative and Colonial Archives”, Restitution: Archive, Agency and Access Workshop, Documentary Convention, 2019, Leipzig, Germany.

  • “We Carve Words in the Earth: Restoring the Past through Image and Sound”, The Sound of Memory Symposium- Soundtrack/Soundscape, 2017, Goldsmiths College & Whitechapel Gallery, UK.

  • “Excavating the archives for Palestinian women’s history”, Palestinian Culture, Where To Conference, 2016, The Institute for Palestine Studies, Palestine. 

  • “Women stories of decolonization from Turtle Island”, Art and Resistance Conference, 2016, Dar al-Kalima University, Palestine.

Public Engagement & Impact

  • Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies, San Francisco State University. "Situated Knowledge & Critical Enquiry: Can the Subaltern Speak?” workshop. November 2021
  • BlackStar Film Festival. “Archival Practice” workshop. August 2021
  • 2nd Arab Women's Film Festival- Brazil. “Palestinian Body and Territory” roundtable discussion. May 2021

  • Ashkal Alwan (https://ashkalalwan.org) Home Workspace Program seminar series. “Emancipating the Archive” workshop. March 2021

  • Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies, San Francisco State University. “Teaching Gender and Sexual Justice in Arab and Muslim Communities” workshop. August 2020

Other Research Interests

  • Indigenous and People's Histories
  • Decolonisation Theory and Practice
  • Queer Theory
  • Political Geography
  • Art History
  • Design and Architecture
  • Greek Mythology
  • Islamic Poetry


  • British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies
  • Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association