ARAB 251 Popular Culture in the Arab World: Youth, Populism, and Politics

Last offered Fall 2013

Cross Listed as COMP251
Since the uprisings in the Arab world in 2011, much attention has been paid to the significant role of the "popular" in creating social and political transformations. The voice of the youth and "the street," in particular, emerged as massive sources and sites for political mobilization. But, are these categories identical? Does youth culture equal popular culture? This survey course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the different layers that constitute popular culture in the Arab world since the decolonization of Arab states in the 1950s. Questions that we will ask include: What constitutes "popular culture" in the Arab world? How is it different than folk culture, mass culture, or "high" culture? Who are the key players in the creation and dissemination of "popular" culture? Besides globalization, for example, what other social, political and economic dynamics engulf the definition of the "popular"? What are modes of self-fashioning and representation of Arab identity that characterize this culture? To answer these questions we will watch several documentaries about music, politics and youth in the Arab world. We will also read a selection of essays from anthropology, Arab culture studies, political science, and journalism to provide historical and critical context for the material discussed in class. Required graphic texts include Naji Al-Ali's A Child in Palestine and Majdi Shafi's Metro: A Story of Cairo.
Class Format: lecture
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, several short response assignments (2-3 pages each), and final paper (5-7 pages)
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: students majoring in or considering a major in Arabic Studies
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
Other Attributes: ARAB Arabic Studies Electives, INST Middle Eastern Studies Electives
Enrollment Limit: 40
Expected Enrollment: 20
Class Number: 1042
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER ENRL CONSENT
ARAB 251 LEC Pop Culture in the Arab World Division 1: Languages and the Arts Amal Eqeiq
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