PO/CM 250 - Arab Media and Issues of Politics and Culture

The course aims to provide the student with a thorough inside view of Arab media, a particularly useful exercise as these have undergone a profound transformation over the last 25 years. Assisted by technological advances in communication satellites and the internet, Arab media have developed significantly in scope, reach and maturity to a degree that they can offer the inside and outside observer or scholar a most nuanced way to make sense of the Middle East, replacing thus the historical and religious perspectives traditionally applied to the region by outsiders. This is because Arab media, both traditional and new, offer the best available reflector of the myriad transformations affecting the political, social, and cultural realms in the Arab region and beyond, notably among Arab diasporas in Europe and the United States. Arab/Muslim media did reflect some spectacular regional and international changes, from the 9/11 cataclysm and the first and second Gulf Wars to the Arab uprisings of 2011 and their ongoing aftershocks; at the same time, for good or ill, they played a crucial role in precipitating them, not without creating a new set of implications for media, politics, and culture in the region.  Another reason for all to heed the development of Arab media is its attempt and relative success to unseat the Western media perspective from its historical position as the sole purveyor of news and “common sense,” a challenge that enriches and problematizes the global media space.  

In addition to the above, students will be exposed to a variety of related topics, most notably the issue of Arab media as a locus of power and contestation, in particular as they enter the digital phase, revolutionizing access and democratic participation on the one hand, and inviting new forms of state and corporate control on the other.    

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Political Science

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