Media surrounds us in our everyday lives. Between print, radio, movies, television, and the internet, we are continuously engulfed in a sea of multimedia entertainment and advertising. It's easy to point out that the point of advertisement is to create sales for a product, but it's much harder to pinpoint the meaning of entertainment. For instance, a film is usually written and shot with the intention of interesting the audience, but what if what interests the audience is, intentionally or not, problematic or offensive to distinct groups of people?
Professor Alsultany's class, “From Harems to Terrorists”, asked us as students to consider alternative, critical readings of a selection of films, television, and other media that involve depictions of Arabs, Muslims, Islam, or the Middle East. The intent was not only to point out what features of mainstream Arab/Muslim representation are problematic, but to also show how these representations emerged from contextual world events, and how the common stereotypes, problematic thematic tropes, and outright racism might be counter-acted. The class not only revealed an important standpoint on issues of race in the media, but also suggested progressive solutions to these historical problems. Our mission is to demonstrate how the concepts in this course altered and enhanced our understandings and perceptions of media, Arab/Muslim identity, and the politics of representation.