Robert Watson, Ph.D.

Assistant Department Chair, Assistant Professor of Instruction, Modern Languages and Literatures

Robert Watson, Ph.D.



Robert Watson’s research and teaching center on cinema’s role in representing the nation, empires, and struggles for independence and recognition during decolonization. He is particularly interested in cinema’s role in constructing visual sovereignty, the right to represent oneself and one’s community in global cinemascape, in opposition to dominant views from cinematic metropolises, namely Hollywood and Paris.

His research focuses specifically on the Mediterranean as a visual and historical space of colonization and decolonization, homeland and diaspora, “native” languages and pluri-lingualism. His publications include analyses of cosmopolitanism in Mediterranean cinemas, encompassing the Jewish diasporas of Morocco, Tunisia, and Lebanon as represented in France and Israel. Currently, he is working on a book project tentatively entitled, “Who Controls the Screens? Visual Sovereignty during the Decolonization of the Maghreb and Middle East, 1930-1967”.

More About Me

Watson received his Ph.D. in French Language, Literature, and Cinema at Vanderbilt University. He has taught classes in film, media, and cultural studies at Stetson University and SUNY, Purchase College.

In Watson’s classes, students explore the formal and narrative power of cinema to create and critique collective identities. Watson is particularly interested in the way that moving images allow us to imagine and reimagine ourselves in community, whether ethnic, national, linguistic, or diasporic.


  • FRN 1014 - Elementary French I


  • Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
  • MA, University of Leeds (UK)
  • BA, Baylor University

Honors and Awards


Grants, Patents and Clinical Trials