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FILM 42.19 - Middle East in Film: Picturing the Past and Present

This is a course guide for FILM 42.19.

Course description

How may films serve as a starting point for revisiting the past and rethinking the present? In what ways may representations of the Middle East differ over time and across places? And why do the stories told by filmmakers in documentaries, historical dramas, and other cinematic productions matter? Movies depicting the Middle East routinely draw mass audiences and consequently shape popular perceptions of the region the world over. The very same films, however, are all too often understood by many people as mere entertainment. In this class, we will consider what movies, if treated critically, may teach us about Middle East history. Beginning with a brief introduction to film and media studies, we will contemplate where the Middle East fits into this field of inquiry. Once establishing how we will approach movies and the Middle East throughout the term, we will navigate a number of key themes together, from war, memory, and migration to (mis)information, revolution, and representation. Along the way, we will watch everything from indie films to big budget blockbusters. Regardless of the exact form these projects assume, all of the pictures we explore will generate debate and discussion around the past and present. Among the topics we will cover are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, European colonialism, and America’s legacy in the Arab world. To assist us on this journey across the Middle East and well beyond its boundaries, we will engage several primary sources, with motion pictures at the forefront. These thought-provoking items will empower us to partake in conversations that traverse languages, national borders, historical eras, and artistic genres, enabling us to view the Middle East in an entirely new way.

[Source: ORC/Catalog, 08/28/2023]; Dist:ART; WCult:NW

In the Library's collections

You can use one of these subject headings to start your research in the library's online catalog:

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book title(s)

Other library resource(s)

Finding scholarly articles & journal title(s)

You can find scholarly literature for Arab cinema in a variety of journals. However, if you want to do targeted searching, you can use a subject specific database such as Film & Television Literature Index. You can also use the search box at the top of the page.

Internet resource(s)

Citing and Tracking Your Bibliographic References

Use this guide to help you learn how to correctly cite and keep track of the references you find for your research.

Keeping up with Film Studies journal literature

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Don't own or use a mobile device? You can still use BrowZine! It's also available in a web version. You can get to it here. The web version works the same way as the app version. Find the journals you like, create a custom Bookshelf, get ToCs and read the articles you want.