American University of Beirut

Blake Atwood

​​​​​​​​​​​​Blake Atwood is Associate Professor of Media Studies and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Media Studies at the American University of Beirut. His research and teaching focus on the intersection of technology, culture, and politics in the Middle East. He has recently begun a new book tentatively titled The Failure of Automation: Data Work and Development in Lebanon. He is the author of Underground: The Secret Life of Videocassettes in Iran (MIT Press, 2021) and Reform Cinema in Iran: Film and Political Change in the Islamic Republic (Columbia University Press, 2016). Blake is also an award-winning teacher. He won the Leslie Waggener Centennial Teaching Fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin in 2017 and the Innovation in Teaching with Technology Award at AUB in 2021. Before​ coming to AUB, he taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas at Austin.


Labor and Technology
Informal Circulation
Data and Artificial Intelligence 


MCOM 204: From Telegraph to Twitter​
MCOM 227: Media and the Environment​
MCOM 234: Labor, Media, and Gender 
MCOM 302: Seminar in Arab Media & Society​


Monographs and Edited Volumes

Underground: The Secret Life of Videocassettes in Iran. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2021.​

Reform Cinema in Iran: Film and Political Change in the Islamic Republic. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.​

​​​Iranian Cinema in a Global Context: Politics, Policy, and Form, co-edited with Peter Decherney​. New York: Routledge, 2014.​

Journal Articles and Book Chapters 

"Precarity and Possibility: Government Intervention and Informal Media Work in the Middle East," Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 16, no. 2 ​​(May 2023): 215-228. 

"An Archeology of Access: Materiality, Historiography, and Iranian Cinema," in Counter-Memories in Iranian Cinema, eds. Matthias Wittmann and Ute Holl (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2021): 63-84.

"A City by the Sea: Uncovering Beirut's Media Waste," Communication, Culture, and Critique 12, no. 1 (March 2019): ​​53-71. 

“The Little Devil Comes Home: Video, the State, and Amateur Cinema in Iran," Film History 30, no. 1 (Spring 2018): 138-167.​

“Home Video and the Death of Cinema: Notes from the Lebanese Civil War, 1975-1990," Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities 35, no. 3 (Summer 2016): 78-95.

“When the Sun Goes Down: Sex, Desire, and Cinema in 1970s Tehran," Asian Cinema 27, no. 2 (October 2016): 127-150.​​

“Tehran's Textual Topography: Mapping Youth Culture in Contemporary Persian Literature," ALIF: Journal of Comparative Poetics 35 (May 2015): 123-151​.

“Sense and Censorship in the Islamic Republic of Iran," World Literature Today 86, no. 3 (May 2012): 38-41. ​​


PhD University of Texas at Austin
MA University of Texas at Austin
BA University of Virginia​​

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