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Lecture: Dr. Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University
February 19, 2015 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
(Re)presenting: Images of Muslims in North American Television and Film
404 Grinter Hall–Center for African Studies, 4th Floor
In this lecture, Dr. Hussain analyzes the portrayal of Muslims in several North American television shows and movies. Emphasis is given to the two seasons of Sleeper Cell, the first show on American television created to deal with Muslim lives post 9/11. He will also discuss Muslim characters in Oz, Saving Grace, Lost and 24 as well as some films to add further insights. These television dramas are compared with two comedies, Community and Little Mosque on the Prairie, the first Canadian television show to examine Muslim lives. The conclusion is that in dramas, Muslims are usually not recognized on American television as citizens of their own country, but instead are portrayed as dangerous immigrants with a religion that is both alien and wicked. Moreover, the religion as it is lived out on the television drama is one of violence— there seems to be no other substantive practice that embodies Islamic faith.
Dr. Hussain is Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, where he has been teaching courses on Islam and world religions since 2005. He is the Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the premier scholarly journal for the study of religion. His own research focuses on contemporary Muslim societies in North America, and he is the author or editor of 5 books and over 50 book chapters and scholarly articles. In 2008, he was appointed a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities.