AMAS 301 - Topics in Arab American Studies
Fall 2022, Section 002 - Contemporary Film of the Islamic World
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Arab and Muslim American Studies (AMAS)
Department: LSA American Culture
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Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


Representations of Muslims that dominate in the West typically present two monolithic images—that of the terrorist and that of the victim (of either Islamist fundamentalism or Western warfare). It is rare that representations of Muslims by Muslims rise to prominence within the West that are not either framed as a “humanizing project” aimed at making Muslims more sympathetic or derided for reaffirming Islamophobic stereotypes in order to appeal to a Western audience. These flawed or incomplete representations can have real-life societal and political consequences—from interpersonal misunderstandings to impacting the formation of legislation and international policy. In this course, we will complicate and critique these depictions of Islam and Muslims by examining representations of Islam by Muslims and individuals from the Islamic world across diverse forms of contemporary cultural expression and consider the impact that more diverse representation can have on a local and global scale.

Readings will include scholarly discussions of representations of Muslims in cultural production and address questions including: How has 9/11 and the rise of the global “war on terror” altered these representations? What is the effect of the conflation of Muslims and individuals from the so-called Islamic World (which includes parts of West, South, and Southeast Asia)? How are cultural producers challenging assumptions about hijabi (veiled) women? How have representations of Islam translated to real-world impacts on a social and political scale? We’ll examine works across media including the visual arts, film, literature, graphic novels, and even video games. Examples of what we’ll be looking at include Sharif Waked’s video To Be Continued, Ayad Akhtar’s play Disgraced, and Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis to name a few. Writing assignments will include critical analysis of a work, a film review, and a final argumentative research paper about an artist or work and its place in scholarly conversations about representations of Islam. These essays will examine the potential and/or observed impacts of these depictions on our contemporary lives. No prior knowledge of Islam or the Islamic World required.


AMAS 301 - Topics in Arab American Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
F 10:00AM - 1:00PM
Note: This is a meet-together with AMCULT 305.
002 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Note: This is a meet-together with RCHUMS 319.001.

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