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Mona Damluji
Regents of the University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA 93106-0001)
Pipeline Cinema: A History of Oil, Culture and Infrastructure in Iraq

Research and writing leading to a book on the relationship between the oil industry and cinema culture in Iraq between 1920 and 1958.

Pipeline Cinema is a history of the social and spatial entanglements between the oil industry and cinema culture in modern Iraq: an emblematic case of oil media and its origins in documentary film sponsorship. I introduce the conceptual framework “cultural infrastructure” as a new approach to the study of how corporations create culture. Based on extensive primary research, the monograph presents four chapters that draw together corporate archives, films, periodicals, trade publications, recorded interviews and oral histories with living informants to tell the story of local film production and exhibition practices that are inextricable from global networks of physical infrastructure built to extract, transport and refine crude oil, what I call pipeline cinema. Building on pathbreaking work in the energy humanities, this project contributes to three key fields of scholarship: critical infrastructure studies, documentary film history, and Middle East studies.

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism; Media Studies; Near and Middle Eastern History

Awards for Faculty

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022