MAAS-628-01 Media & Communications in the Arab World
Spring for 2017-2018
Two cataclysmic events, September 11th, 2011 and the Arab Uprisings of 2011-12, have catapulted Arab media to the forefront of public debate and turned this little examined area into one of vibrant arena for deliberation and a significant site of research. This course delves into the increasingly influential realm of international broadcasting as it applies to the Middle Eastern media milieu. By engaging primary issues pertaining to the development, structure and impact of contemporary Arab media institutions and their content, the course allows students to explore the theoretical approaches underlying a burgeoning "industry" in the region. Topics include the political and economic structures of regional media, the history of Arab journalism, identity-construction and representation, operations of government broadcasting, the advent of satellite television and new media technology and their ramifications. The course also problematizes such notions as the "Al-Jazeera Effect" and "the Arab street" as well as issues including reporting styles in the Arab press, legislation and "freedom of the press" policies, religious and doctrinal broadcasting, and entertainment/pop culture in the region. Through the evaluation of exemplar case studies, the future of Arab media in light of new technological innovations and the advent of "alternative notions" of information delivery including mobile phone messaging, blogging and other forms of digital communication. The most recent addition to this class is a significant portion dedicated to the study of social media, digital activism, and identity in cyberspace and how these affect contemporary politics, economics, society, and culture in the Arab countries undergoing significant change.
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