ARAB 331
Popular Culture in the Arab World: Youth, Populism, and Politics Fall 2022
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed COMP 332
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Since the uprisings in the Arab world in 2011 and the counter-revolutions that followed, 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 examine original sources (with English translation) that include a graphic novel, political cartoon and graffiti, documentaries, TV shows, soap operas, video clips, music, comedy, blogs, news and social media. A selection of essays from anthropology, Arab culture studies, political science, journalism, and online videos will be used to provide historical and critical context for the material discussed in class.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1175
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, two shorter papers (3-4 pages), two film reviews and critical reflections (1-page), a performance, and a longer final paper (7-10 pages)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: students majoring in or considering a major in Arabic Studies
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 332 Division I ARAB 331 Division I
DPE Notes: As the course description explains, this course engages the concept of the popular through a critical examination of difference, power, and equality in the context of national revolt against colonialism, dictatorship, and socioeconomic injustice in the Arab world since the 1950s. The content will focus on addressing how voices from the margins, particularly the youth, the urban poor, and women, articulated a political language of popular resistance against the dual hegemony of state and colony.
Attributes: GBST Middle Eastern Studies

Class Grid

Course Catalog Archive Search



Start Time
End Time