Associate Professor Department of Middle East and Islamic Studies
Helga works on issues to do with technology, media, culture, territory and politics in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Palestine-Israel. Her work seeks to challenge the notion of an open and borderless world by looking at how technologies and their infrastructures -- such as cell phones and the internet -- impose new forms of borders and controls and work in explicitly territorial and political ways. She is equally interested in thinking about how spaces and 'things' that are overtly territorial and political -- borders, checkpoints, and identification cards, for example -- themselves function in cultural ways.
Helga has published a wide range of peer-reviewed articles and invited chapters. She is co-editor of the 2016 book Gaza as Metaphor and is currently working on another volume tentatively titled Producing Palestine. She has researched and written on Arab media; Palestinian cinema, television, video games and popular culture; telecommunications and internet infrastructure and development in the Palestinian Territories; cultural/territorial politics, checkpoints, identification cards, and surveillance in Palestine-Israel; as well as other topics.
Most recently, Helga has been experimenting with visual forms of expression and especially collage.
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, public humanities, Middle Eastern cities and urban spaces, and what has been referred to as "the coffee class" (cultural geography of commodities), which is not always about coffee.
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 and a half languages. Helga has spent lots of time behind a camera, as a photographer and documentary film-maker.
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2022). Speculation on infrastructural ecology: Pigeons, Gaza, and internet access. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.
- Mikko Joronen, Helga Tawil-Souri, Merav Amir and Mark Griffiths (2021). Palestinian Futures: Anticipation, Imagination, Embodiments. Geografiska Annaler B: Human Geography.
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2021). Internet Pigeon Network. In M. Sorkin and D. Sharp, eds. Open Gaza. Terreform.
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2019). Dis-Formations of Palestine. In Tarik Sabry and Joe Khalil, eds., Culture, Time and Publics in the Arab World: Media, Public Space and Temporality. I.B. Tauris.
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2018). Checkpoint Time. Qui Parle 26(2).
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2017). Spectrum. Cultural Anthropology.
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2017). Surveillance Sublime: The Security State in Jerusalem. Jerusalem Quarterly 68
- Tawil-Souri, H., & Matar, Dina, eds. (2016). Gaza as Metaphor. Hurst Publishers.
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2015). Cellular borders: Dis/connecting phone calls in Israel-palestine, in Parks, L. and Starosielski, N. eds., Signal traffic: Critical studies of media infrastructures.
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2014). Cinema as the Space to Transgress Palestine’s Territorial Trap. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 7(2).
- Tawil-Souri, H. and M. Aouragh. (2014). "Intifada 3.0? Cyber colonialism and Palestinian resistance." Arab Studies Journal 22.1
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2012). Digital Occupation: Gaza's High-Tech Enclosure. Journal of Palestine Studies 41(2).
- Tawil-Souri. H. (2012). It’s Still About the Power of Place. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 5(1).
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2012). Mapping Israel–Palestine. Political Geography, 1(31).
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2011). Where is the political in cultural studies? In Palestine. International Journal of Cultural Studies 14(5).
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2011). Colored Identity: The Politics and Materiality of ID Cards in Palestine/Israel. Social Text 29(2).
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2011). Qalandia Checkpoint as Space and Nonplace. Space and Culture 14(1).
- Tawil-Souri, H. (2009). New Palestinian centers: An ethnography of the 'checkpoint economy'. International Journal of Cultural Studies 12(3).