History Department
History Department

Talk: "Modern Muslim Masculinities in an age of Transnational Media"

Fri, October 21, 2011 | GAR 4.100 (Garrison Hall, 4th floor)

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

The Department of History's Graduate Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality presents

"Modern Muslim Masculinities in an age of Transnational Media"

A talk by Janine Jones
Ph.D. student, Department of History

Janine's work traces the history of contemporary media constructions of ideal Muslim masculinity. In the last twenty years, a dramatic proliferation of transnational broadcast media in the form of satellite television channels has emerged out of the Middle East whose main programming, including music videos and television serials, is consumed by an audience who identify as Muslim. These channels, and the music and shows played on them, are increasingly perceived by Muslim diaspora communities internationally and within the Middle East as a primary means to connect and reconnect with their heritage and cultural identity. Yet, over the course of the last decade, the programming itself, particularly the ways in which gender behavior is depicted in it, has evolved to take on many of the tropes and gendered performances commonly associated with Western cinematic norms: women are often scantily clad and provocatively posed, clearly designed to be the objects of the male erotic gaze. In response to this trend toward highly sexualized programming, several “Islamic” satellite channels have been created with the express purpose of providing media that depict appropriate Muslim family values.  One of the most striking visual components of this programming is its conscious lack of onscreen women, or its careful portrayal of women who are depicted in full hijab, who are decentered in frame, and who are slightly out-of-focus. In this sense a specific model of Muslim masculinity is being promoted that involves an inherent, culturally specific structural relationship between men and women. This work-in-progress traces the historical background and cultural preoccupations that have led to this specific model of Muslim masculinity in media.

The Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality has been a fixture in Department of History since 2001, offering a forum for graduate students and faculty to present papers and works-in-progress for discussion in a relaxed and collegial atmosphere.

Free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Program Coordinators Valerie Ann Martinez (email) and Allison Schottenstein (email).

Sponsored by: The History Department's Graduate Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality

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