Department of Media, Culture, and Communication


Helga Tawil-Souri

Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication

Helga Tawil-Souri

Phone: 212-992-9437
Office Hours: Summer/Fall 2014 - by appointment ONLY

Associated Faculty Department of Middle East and Islamic Studies

Starting January 2015 Helga will be Director of NYU's Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies 


Helga works on issues to do with technology, media, culture, territory and politics in the Middle East, and especially Palestine-Israel. She has researched and written on Arab media; Palestinian cinema, television, videogames and popular culture; on telecommunications and internet infrastructure and development in the Palestinian Territories; as well as on cultural/territorial politics in Palestine-Israel including analyzing checkpoints as cultural and economic spaces, identification cards as material artifacts and territorially-bordering mechanisms. By and large, Helga's scholarship deals with how media/cultural technologies are shaped, used, negotiated, circulated and impeded in the contemporary geopolitical context of the Middle East.

Helga has published a range of peer-reviewed articles and invited chapters. She has a monograph titled Digital Occupation forthcoming, and two co-edited volumes, one on Arab Media and Culture (Wiley, 2015/16) and the second, Gaza As Metaphor (Hurst, 2015). She serves on a number of journal editorial boards and Middle Eastern non-profit foundations. 

Helga teaches courses at undergraduate and graduate levels on topics including borders and spatiality, Arab media, critical theory and media studies, Israel/Palestine, war and media, globalization and international development, and what has been referred to as "the coffee class" (cultural geography of commodities). She also enjoys teaching MCC's core graduate courses. 

Her BA is in English Literature and Economics from McGill University. She holds an MA from the Annenberg School for Communication at USC, and a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  

Before academia, Helga worked as a researcher and strategic analyst at a multinational media conglomerate and as an internet consultant. She has lived in various parts of North America, Europe, and the Middle East, which has resulted in border-crossings of various kinds, an obsession with im/mobility, and the ability to fluently communicate in six languages. Helga also spends time behind a camera, as a photographer and documentary film-maker. 


Research Interests

  • Contemporary Palestinian politics and culture
  • Media and hi-tech infrastructure and materiality
  • Critical geography, borders, spatiality, territoriality
  • Contemporary issues in Israel-Palestine
  • Media and cultural politics in the Middle East
  • Globalization, capitalism, 'development'



  • Global Honors Seminar: Borders, Barriers, and Buffers 
  • Cultural Geography and Media of Commodities
  • Mediating Israel/Palestine
  • Communication and International Development
  • Middle East Media (formerly Islam, Media, and the West)
  • Introduction to Media Studies
  • Media and Globalization
  • War and Media in the Middle East (@ NYU-AD)
  • War as Media


  • Middle East Media and Cultural Politics 
  • Middle East Media and Cultural Politics: Israel/Palestine 
  • Topics in Globalization: International Development
  • Topics in Globalization: Commodities
  • Media, Culture, and Communication Core Seminar (MA Theory Core)
  • Dissertation Proposal Seminar
  • Doctoral Core Seminar 1 (PhD Theory Core)


In Fall 2014, Helga will be teaching War and Media in the Middle East at NYU-Abu Dhabi.


Selected Articles

Tawil-Souri, H. (forthcoming). Media, Globalization, and the (Un)Making of the Palestinian Cause. Popular Communication.

Tawil-Souri, H. (forthcoming). Between Digital Flows and Territorial Borders: ICTs in the Palestine-Israel-EU Matrix; in Raffaella Del Sarto, ed.  Fragmented Borders, Interdependence and External Relations: The Israel-Palestine-European Union Triangle, Palgrave.

Tawil-Souri, H. (in press). Technology’s Borders: The U.S., Palestine, and Egypt’s Digital Connections; in Marwan Kraidy and Alex Lubin, eds. American Studies Between the American Century and the Arab Spring, University of North Carolina Press.

Tawil-Souri, H. (in press). Exopolis: Between Ramallah and Jerusalem. Urban Research.

Tawil-Souri H. (2014).  The Technological End Between the Inside of Gaza and the Outside of Gaza. 7iber [link ]

Tawil-Souri, H. (2014). My Aunt’s Mamilla. Jerusalem Quarterly 58

Tawil-Souri, H. (2014). Cinema as the Space to Transgress Palestine’s Territorial Trap. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 7(2): 169-189.

Tawil-Souri, H. and M. Aouragh (2014). Intifada 3.0? Cyber Colonialism and Palestinian Resistance. Arab Studies Journal 102-133.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2014). الاحتلال الرقمي الإسرائيلي لغزة Omran, Special Issue on Surveillance.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2013). Networking Palestine, Creating and Limiting Media and Technology Flows: Television  and Telecommunications since 1993. In Petter Bauck and Mohammed Omer Moghayyer, Eds. The Oslo Accords 1993- 2013: Twenty Years with what Results? AUC Press / I.B. Tauris. 

Tawil-Souri, H. (2012). Egypt’s Uprising and the Shifting Spatiality of Politics. Cinema Journal 52(1): 160-166.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2012). Digital Occupation: The High-Tech Enclosure of Gaza. Journal of Palestine Studies 41(2): 27-43.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2012). Mapping Israel-Palestine. Political Geography 30(8): 57-60. 

Tawil-Souri, H. (2012).  Uneven Borders, Coloured (Im)mobilities: ID Cards in Palestine/Israel. Geopolitics 17(1).

Tawil-Souri, H. (2011). Where is the Political in Cultural Studies? In Palestine. International Journal of Cultural Studies 16(1), 1-16.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2011). Colored Identity: The Politics and Materiality of ID Cards in Palestine/Israel. Social Text 107, 67-97.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2011). The ‘War on Terror’ in Arab Media. In Daya Thussu and Des Freedman, Eds., Media and Terrorism: Global Perspectives (241-254). SAGE.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2011). The Necessary Politics of Palestinian Cultural Studies. In Tarik Sabry, Ed., Conceptualising Cultural Studies and Media Studies in the Arab World: Mapping the Field (150-176). London: I.B. Tauris.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2011). Qalandia Checkpoint as Space and Non-Place. Space and Culture 14(1), 4-26.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2011). Orange, Green, and Blue: Colour-Coded Paperwork for Palestinian Population Control. In Elia Zureik, David Lyon, and Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Eds., Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine: Population, Territory, and Power (219-238). London: Routledge.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2009). New Palestinian Centers: An Ethnography of the ‘Checkpoint Economy.’ International Journal of Cultural Studies 12(3), 217-235.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2008). Arab Television in Academic Scholarship. Sociology COMPASS 2(5), 1400-1415.

Tawil Souri, H. (2007). The Political Battlefield of Pro-Arab Videogames on Palestinian Streets. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 27(3), 536-551.

Tawil-Souri, H. (2007). Global and National Forces for a Nation-State Yet to Be Born: The Paradoxes of Palestinian Television Policies. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 4(3), 4-25.

Tawil Souri, H. (2007). Move Over Bangalore. Here Comes… Palestine? Western Funding and ‘Internet Development’ in the Shrinking Palestinian State. In P. Chakravartty and Y. Zhao, Eds., Global Communications: Toward a Transcultural Political Economy (263-284). Rowman & Littlefield. 

Souri, H.T. (2006). Marginalizing Palestinian Development: Lessons Against Peace. Development 49(2), 75-80.

Tawil, H. (2005). Coming Into Being and Flowing Into Exile: History and Trends in Palestinian Film-Making. Nebula 2(2), 113-140.


for a complete list of publications and presentations, see