Popular Culture in the Arab World

Monday, 10. Juli 2017
– Saturday, 15. Juli 2017

University of Konstanz, Y 132

Tanja Rinker

Nadeem Karkabi

Tanja Rinker, Fellow of the Zukunftskolleg affiliated with the Department of Linguistics, co-organises this workshop with Nadeem Karabi, Fellow of the Martin Buber Society at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Popular culture has been playing an important role in shaping social and political processes, especially with the recent growing use of social media and digital communication that become a stage for personal expression and an arena for power struggles, protests and repression. Throughout the 20th century, the Arab world has gone through important changes of de-colonization, the emergence of national identities and economic liberalization that were reflected in popular culture. In recent years, these issues are raised in parallel with the political instability and are accompanied by an internal dialogue about the renewal of Arab culture and its characteristics.

The aim of the course is to introduce the students to contemporary Arab popular culture in its variations and complexities, and to discuss theoretical and interpretive ideas to understand it.

The course will examine the role of popular culture in the Arab world through issues related to ethnicity and nationalism; authenticity, appropriation and acculturation; Islam and piety; women and gender; LGBT and sexuality; Internet - (im)mobility and virtual realities; counterculture; Arab and Islamic diasporas; Performance of Arab culture in the West. We will deal with these topics by reading relevant theoretical texts and by analyzing examples of artistic, social and political expressions. The course includes short lectures and class discussions, based on assigned readings.

The course is open to students in the field of education, linguistics, sociology (or beyond), to Zukunftskolleg Fellows, and teachers.