Folklore | Popular Culture in the Middle East
F617 | 29616 | D. McDonald

Fulfills: Area

This undergraduate/graduate course will examine the dynamics of
popular culture and mass media in the Middle East, including the
Arabic speaking nations, Israel, Turkey, and North Africa.  Although
performative arts, mass media, and popular culture have often been
deemed as epiphenomenal in Middle Eastern studies, this course
proceeds from the idea that popular culture and performance are in
fact foundational means for negotiating power and resistance, social
interaction, and identity. Through our readings, lectures,
discussions, and various written assignments students will confront
the many ways in which popular culture has had a formative and
foundational 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 agency, and the various forms of power in human
social groupings.  Various ethnographic case studies will explore
Arab Pop Culture, Israeli and Palestinian cinema, Egyptian
television, Turkish Arabesk, transnational Hip-Hop, and the impact
these media have had on contemporary understandings of race, gender,
ethnicity, religion, and nation in the Middle East.