by Pamela Young, Published January 21, 2011
YPSILANTI - During the 1960s, the Soviets were Hollywood's "bad guys." Now, the industry has new "terrorists" in its action films - Arabs.
Dr. Jack Shaheen, an internationally acclaimed author and media critic, will discuss the characterization of Arabs in movies and the persistence of harmful stereotypes in U.S. popular culture, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m., Ballroom A, at the EMU Student Center. The lecture is free and open to the public.
As part of the program, Shaheen will host the award-winning documentary, "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People." A discussion will follow.
Called groundbreaking by media critics, the documentary looks at the history of film and the cinema's characterization of Arabs as terrorists or caricatures instead of fully depicting the diversity of Arab people and their rich cultures.
Shaheen, professor emeritus of mass communication at Southern Illinois University, has consulted with the United Nations, the Los Angeles Commission on Human Relations, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, and New York City's Commission on Civil Rights.
He is the author of four books: "Nuclear War Films," "Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture," "The TV Arab" and the award-winning book and film," Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People."
Shaheen has won the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee's Lifetime Achievement Award; is a frequent commentator on network news shows, and is a consultant to motion picture and television companies.
Offered through Eastern Michigan's lecture series, Perspectives on the Middle East: Coming to America, the program is sponsored by the Division of Academic Affairs, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Muslim Student Association, and the EMU Arab-American Faculty and Staff Association.