Media in the US have tended to present the Middle East in a negative light casting Muslim majority countries as static, violent, undemocratic and sexist. This course will critically analyze racial and religious stereotypes and caricatures by foregrounding the rich and complex history of interaction between the West and the Near East. While the course begins in 7th century, the emphasis will be on popular discourse in the United States over the last half century. We will study films, news media reports, television shows, video games and range of other outlets through which our understanding of the Middle East is mediated.
Note: Students who completed Islam, Media, and the Western Imagination (04:567:365) in prior years cannot enroll in this course for credit.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Access information and distinguish between facts and prejudice. Students will learn that images and stereotypes of the Middle East and of Muslim majority countries in the West are rooted in political and historical relationships.
- Think critically about simplistic caricatures and methods of storytelling related to the Middle East and Muslim majority countries. This will enable students who wish to be journalists, film makers, television producers, educators or otherwise involved in the process of image making to construct more complex and nuanced narratives.