Islam, Orientalism and the Arabs in Film

Subject 671-315 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour lecture, a 1-hour tutorial and a 2-hour screening per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Fifty points of first year level study within the Faculty of Arts.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr A Gully
Subject Overview:

This subject focuses on the disparate modes of representation that separate the Muslim, Arab and Western media, and explores each world's cultural and ideological perspectives. This will be achieved by exploring the West's filmic codes and conventions that portray themselves and the Arab and Muslim 'others'. Intrinsic to these codes are Western modernity's two most dominant cinematic perspectives - the patriarchal 'Imperialist gaze' and the sexist 'Male gaze'. Students will gain analytical skills that assist them to uncover these gazes and the stereotyping practices in narrative cinema. They will also become aware of the subjectivities involved in the selection and editing processes of documentary filmmaking. The Eurocentric/Western conventions dominated by populist Hollywood cinema that provide us with an 'Orientalist' perspective of Islam are contrasted with the self-representation of filmmakers producing counter-cinema. Students will encounter Muslim and Arab perspectives on such important topics as migration, gender, sexuality and politics, as well as investigating themes of Imperialism, Orientalism and Post-Modernity. Students should complete this module with knowledge and an understanding of cinematic trends in the representation of Islam, Orientalism and the Arabs and of how film enables the viewer to identify with characters, places and situations. The module will also further considerably the students' historical and contemporary knowledge of the Muslim and Arab world.

Assessment: A 1500 word tutorial paper 40% (due during the semester), a 2500-word essay 50% (due during examination period), and 10% tutorial participation.
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:A subject reader will be available from the Bookroom at the beginning of semester.Orientalism (E Said), Penguin 1995 Visions of the East: Orientalism in Film (Matthew Bernstein & Gaylyn Studlar (eds)), I B Taurus 1997
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • have developed an ability in critical thinking, and analysis and appreciation of film;

  • have an understanding of social, ethical and cultural context;

  • have developed effective written communication skills.

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