ANTH 50.24 (Identical to ARAB 08.02)
Cultures of Media in the Middle East
This course explores the intersection of media, politics, and everyday life through the lens of anthropology in the Middle East. Technologies of mass media have been shaping our “modern” world since Gutenberg's press up until Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, affecting cultures, social interactions, and everyday life around the world. In this course we will explore alternative understandings of media and modernity beyond the western world, by examining ethnographic literature on the Middle East. We will focus on the ways in which media cultures have been shaped by local histories and cultures in the Middle East, investigating the entanglements of national imaginaries, religious practices, social traditions, cultural intimacies, and the 2011 revolutions. The course spans across different media and cultural forms: TV soap operas, religious cassettes, graffiti, selfies, memes, video games, cyber activism, music performances, poetry, social media, cinema, and journalism. The overall aim of this course is to be able to examine the social forces and cultural contexts shaping cultures of media and to investigate the effects of media in everyday life, challenging the dominant understandings of media in the West. By doing so we illuminate more effective analytical contours of media. The course emphasizes the advantages of anthropological methods and theories in understanding media. We will focus on ethnographic writing and the ways in which anthropologists intertwine ethnographic narratives and social theory to analyze media.
(CULT) Dist: SOC, WCult: NW.