James Dean Le Sueur

Award-winning Filmmaker & Distinguished Scholar

Portrait taken in my by Sef Sarroub-Le Sueur (January 2020).


Los Angeles Review of Books Essay on Filmmaking and The Art of Dissent

I make feature documentary movies and write scripts and books about ideas, culture, politics and art.

Anti-nuclear protests in Missoula, Montana 1979

With a historian’s gaze and cameraman’s eyes, I work outside the box.

November 17 anniversary in Prague.

Cinematic storytelling…

As a filmmaker, I write scripts, use cinema and DSLR cameras professionally and edit my first drafts. I come to film with 30 years in academia. Doing most of the elements of filmmaking myself, allows me to exercise greater control over the creative process.

Photographing Czech Writer Eda Kriseová

I am happiest being behind the camera interviewing, checking lights and sound, as I ask questions based on extensive historical research. The freedom and authentic craftsmanship of doing my own work is exhilarating. Add to that the excitement of collaborating with brilliant development, production, and post-production teams, and I cannot image a better of bringing my hybrid’s advantages to the public.

Filming interview in London for The Art of Dissent (May 2019).

But storytelling is more than words. It’s music, song, struggle and how the artists on creative team respond to the call.

Composer Tom Larson and pianist Mark Clinton recording Tom’s score for The Art of Dissent
Recording Voiceovers for The Art of Dissent at Czech TV in Prague. October 2019.
With my voiceover team in Prague. October 2019.
My brilliant second camerawoman, Susan Pahlke, filming interview with journalist Edward Lucas in London (May 2019).
With camerawoman Susan Pahlke, Alan Pajer, and my producer Mariana Čapková in Prague discussing The Art of Dissent
Susan Pahlke Preparing to Interview for The Art of Dissent
Drone filmmaker and journalist, Ben Kreimer working on the end of The Art of Dissent with me. Ben helped me animate the concept of “the Horizon of Being.”
Alena Jirásek (translator and research), Edward Lucas, Mariana Čapková (politician and producer) and Martin Bouda (film archivist) in Prague on November 17, 2019.

As a historian, I’m interested engaging with the public.

Over the past 20 years, my works have been praised internationally in publications including The New Republic, Libération (Paris),  The Village VoiceThe New York Review of Books, The Chronicle of Higher Education and in every major historical journal. I have written for Foreign Affairs, The Walrus and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other public forums. I spoke as the expert on France and terrorism at the National Press Club after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in France. I given invited lectures around the world, been interviewed numerous times, and have taught seminars on asymmetric warfare at The United States Military Academy, West Point.

I am also the founding editor of the France Overseas series at the University of Nebraska Press.

“The Woman with the Red Rose” (November 17 Prague)
After filming an interview with Jaroslav Hutka in October 2017. With my film partners, Mariana Čapková and Susan Pahlke.
Preparing the Interview Jaroslav Hutka, exiled song writer who returned to Czechoslovakia in 1989.
Paul Wilson, former lead singer for The Plastic People of the Universe and renowned translator, during interview.

An Evolving Career :

professional photographer to historian

I enjoy photographing people in motion, the arts

State Ballet of Rhode Island Ballet, 1981. Nikon F2 with 85 1.4 lens.
I lived in Paris for 4 years. Nikon F2 with 35 mm 1.4 lens.
A still for Before September
Filming an interview for Before September
My first feature film

I was first trained as a professional photographer. I became a history professor after I received my BA from the University of Montana and my MA and PhD in intellectual history from the University of Chicago. A professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, I hold the Samuel Clark Waugh Distinguished Professorship of International Relations and serve as Chair the Department of History, where I teach history and filmmaking for historians. In 2002, I was elected to a life-honor of being Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College, Oxford.

As expert on terrorism and colonial history, I write about the end of the European empires anticolonialism and postcolonialism. One of my favorite essays on France and Algeria is Albert Camus and the Anticolonials: Why Camus Wouldn’t Play a Zero Sum Game, and I recently published an essay in Los Angles Review of Books about my decision to move into the domain of filmmaking.

I am currently writing a trade book on the history of twentieth century decolonization.

The Art of Dissent, which is co-produced by NUtech Ventures and Czech TV in Prague, is my first feature film. I created a film company , Fox Hollow Films, which along with FRMOL Productions, Czech TV, NUtech Ventures, produced The Art of Dissent. I have new films and docuseries in development.

I am the fist person in my family to go to college and take nothing for granted. I love having one foot in the film and art worlds and the other in a major research university. It’s the best of all possible worlds. As a First Gen faculty member, I consider teaching one of society’s highest callings.

Films in Development

I am directing three new films and have a docuseries planned. The next movie, Seasons of COVID is currently underway. I’m partnering again with Susan Pahlke (JD) on this film. which explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nebraska. Susan and I are also working together on Before September (in development with filming and researching), which explores terrorism in the United States before 9/11 and focuses on its impact on American society, politics and culture.

Image from Before September
Interviewing Senator Bob Kerrey for Before September about his work on the 9/11 Commission
Oklahoma City image for Before September
9/11 Pentagon Crash Site Image for Before September
Image for Before September
News of the Killing of Osama Bin Laden Image for Before September
Filming Interview in Amsterdam for The Peril of Dissent
Interviewing Maïssa Bey in Paris for The Peril of Dissent
Interviewing Anouar Benmalek in France for The Peril of Dissent
Susan Pahlke and Reda Hassaine after interview for The Peril of Dissent in London. May 2019.

The Peril of Dissent, has been in development for 15 years. I’ve filmed over 40 interviews and plan to complete filming in Europe and North American in Summer 2021 with Susan Pahlke. In Autumn 2022, we will begin production.

Current Book Project

For the past 20 years, I have been writing and researching a book that explores the global history of twentieth-century nationalist movements. For this book, I’ve conducted research in over 50 archives scattered across the world – in Cape Town, Hyderabad, Pondicherry, Goa, Pretoria, North Africa, the United States, England, France, Germany and the Czech Republic. I have a title that will revealed after we announce our publishing plans.

Jagmohan Malhotra, former Govenror of Jammu and Kashmir. Interviewed in New Delhi in 2003.
The Anti-apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa
The Qutb Shahi Tombs near Hyderabad.India.
Tourist at the at Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, India
Pondicherry Police in India.

Book literary agent is Joëlle Delbourgo at Joëlle Delbourgo Associates.

Pondicherry, India
Hyderabad, India

Books and Critical Works

Select Media Interviews with me:

Jonathan Judenken @ Counterpoint
Philip Weiss @ Mondoweiss
WNYC on Mouloud Feraoun
Illinois Public Radio: On Algeria

My Videos and Interviews Available to the Public

Interview with Nasr Hamid Abu Zyad in the Netherlands for The Peril of Dissent. After his death, I put the whole interview in public so scholars and journalists could access and use it. Nicholas Kristof used it, for example.

Interview with Malika Mokaddem in France as part of The Peril of Dissent

Denali National Park, Alaska. Nikon F2 with Kodachrome.
A Horse Show in Nebraska
Jazz Artist on South Side of Chicag.
Eel Salesman in Tunis
I lived in Chicago for many years in graduate school.
Toadstool National Park, Nebraska.
One of my first photos taken in grade school

All Rights Reserved for all images and text on this site. No images are for sale or use by others.

Postings from an edge: Creative Commons in the Classroom ...
James Dean Le Sueur


Get in Touch


On Facebook @jamesdeanlesueur


Send Me a Message

Portrait by Sofia Sarroub-Le Sueur

At my home in Nebraska.