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Islamically Marked Bodies and Neoliberal Locations in Egyptian Cinema

October 10, 2010
05:00PM - 07:00PM

401 Fischer-Bennett Hall

Categories: Seminar

Walter Armbrust (University of Oxford, Middle East Studies)

The film Ana Mish Ma‘hum (I Am Not With Them, 2007) contrasts sharply with a set of visual codes salient since the early 1970s for depicting (or more to the point, eliding) Islamically marked people and urban places. These conventions were repeated across a broad swathe of audiovisual media, hence my case study applies not just to cinema, but to all visual media more broadly. In the past decade, however, conventions for representing people and locations have been altered significantly, first by the advent of transnational broadcasting, and secondly, by increasingly insistent links to the politics of neoliberalism. Hence my paper examines a tension evident in I Am Not With Them and other similar productions between on one hand, the neoliberalization of Islam, and on the other hand, agendas for infusing Islamic ethics into neoliberalism.

This program is made possible thanks to the generous support of Center for Global Communication Studies, Cinema Studies, Middle East Center, and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Historians of Islamic Art Association.