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Cultural Studies Program

Courses :: CULS C701 Topic: Popular Culture in the Middle East

This course examines the dynamics of popular culture and mass media in the Middle East, including the Arabic speaking nations, Israel, Turkey, and Iran.  This course proceeds from the idea that popular culture and performance are in fact foundational means of negotiating power and resistance, social interaction, and identity.  Through course readings, lectures, discussions, and various written assignments students will confront the many ways in which popular culture has had a formative impact upon conceptions of identity in the Middle East.  Our readings will build upon fundamental anthropological understandings of social groups, of symbols and categories, the linkages of culture and agency, and the various forms of power in human social groups.  Ethnographic case studies will explore Arab Pop, Israeli and Palestinian cinema, Egyptian television, Turkish Arabesk, transnational Hip-Hop, and the impact these media have on contemporary understandings of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and nation in the Middle East.