Undergraduate - Winter - 2021
This course examines a spectrum of media created about and by Muslims in order to examine how media works to shape popular imaginaries of Islam. While mainstream American films, television programs, and video games reproduce orientalist imaginaries of Islam as America’s “other” and foster Islamophobia, independent and international media makers have stepped up in recent years to creatively challenge hackneyed stereotypes using humor, historical perspective and humanistic storytelling.
This course begins with an historical approach that examines why Hollywood is saturated with media tropes that simplify and demonize Muslims. We will define and use key terms, including Orientalism and Islamophobia, that help us to analyze the work that these media tropes do in the world. Next, the course explores several path-breaking projects in new media spaces – from youtube and podcasts to web comics and Netflix – to understand the alternative encounters they offer viewers, including the possibility of admiring, learning from and even identifying with heterogeneous and complex Muslim characters.