Masterclass with Dr Adel Iskandar

Media, Culture and Diaspora: The Arab Case
7 - 8 August, 2006
Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney

Presented by the Cultural Research Network and the Centre for Cultural Research, UWS

The master class will be of interest to postgraduates and early career researchers working across a variety of areas including cultural studies, media and journalism studies, communication, anthropology and sociology, with a focus on issues around diaspora, media and identity.

The master class will be conducted over two days. The first day will be a broad discussion around notions of transnationalism and hybridity, situating them both in relation to a variety of theoretical approaches and in the context of the study of migration and diaspora. The focus on the Middle East and Arab diasporas around the world is especially relevant in the context of the ‘war on terror’ and the heightening of international tensions around the so-called ‘clash of civilisations’.

The second day will comprise a more applied approach to the understanding of hybridity and transnationalism, especially as it relates to the discussion of media and communication. It will look at specific case studies – such as Al-Jazeera and El-Ghorba – and how they flesh out our understanding of diasporic identities and processes of acculturation. This day will also explore the relation of research methodologies to the study of transnationalism and mediated hybridity – including media ethnography and critical discourse analysis. How does a focus on news media and diasporic audiences extend our understandings of hybrid identities? This master class will pose particular challenges to the study and practice of journalism and media, and the role of news media in constructing audiences and framing agendas.

The master class will be interactive, requiring students not only to contribute to discussions but also to present aspects of their work. It will also involve participants functioning as rapporteurs at various stages addressing aspects of the discussions and the readings which will be distributed prior to the first day of the class.

The master class is free to successful applicants, and includes lunch and morning/afternoon teas.  Participants who do not live in Sydney will have their air travel and accommodation covered by the CRN.

We require you to complete an application form (contact Greg noble) and to submit a brief, 1-page CV. The application form will ask you to include a 250 word outline of your current research. Applications to participate in the master class are due by 13 July 2006. Successful applicants will be notified by 17 July 2006.

Further enquiries can be addressed to Greg Noble at g.noble@uws.edu.au .

Dr Adel Iskandar is a Middle East media scholar and activist who is having a major impact in the interdisciplinary study of international communication, global media, multicultural studies and postcolonialism. His book, Al-Jazeera: How the Free Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East (2002, co-authored with M. el-Nawawy) – the first major analysis of the famous Arab satellite station – received the 2003 Choice Outstanding Academic Title in the Humanities). His work is highly regarded for contributing unique new knowledge on the news media and the public sphere in the Middle East and its impact on Arab audiences both in the Middle East and in the diaspora (especially in North America). As a diasporic Egyptian-Canadian scholar currently working in the US, he brings to the field an in-depth knowledge of culture, politics and society in the Middle East combined with a thorough command of contemporary media and cultural theory. His research focuses on the relationship between media and minority acculturation, alternative media in the Arab world, and the reform of journalistic practices. He uses the concept of "contextual objectivity" to critique the mainstream media's coverage of war.

Adel works in the School of  International Service, American University, Washington. He is currently working on two books: US Public Diplomacy, Culture, and Arab Audiences and El-Islam: Muslims and the Internet. His edited book, Edward Said: Emancipation and Representation, is forthcoming with the University of California Press (2006). In addition, he is active on a number of community engagement initiatives. 

While in Australia, Adel will also be giving seminars and public lectures in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.