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"Media in and of Middle Eastern Television Drama"

Middle East Critique

Vol. 28, 2019.

The mass uprisings that spread through the Middle East in 2011, and the succession of social movements that have followed it, sparked a burgeoning of academic interest in the politics of Middle Eastern media. Most analysts have focused on the role social media has played in these phenomena, debating, for instance, the extent to which protests should be considered ‘Twitter Revolutions’ or ‘Facebook Revolutions.’ User-generated media has displaced television in academic literature, but not in the Middle East itself, where TV drama forms the primary platform for sociopolitical commentary. As contributions to this special issue evince, multi-media convergence has in fact intensified television drama’s reach and relevance. The Internet offers a virtual, year-round simulation of Ramadan—the long-standing TV broadcast season in Arabic-language media. Digital technologies enable binge-watching, breathing new life into long-form television. Audiences watch serials through streaming services and video-sharing sites. Fan cultures abound on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Media makers use these platforms to promote their works and—sometimes from sites of diaspora—communicate with each other and their audiences. Viewers are themselves producing and posting mashups, spoofs, critiques, and homages to TV serials and their creators. This special issue seeks to realign scholarly interest with lived media realities in the Middle East. Contributors from a variety of disciplines—anthropology, communication, and law—analyze case studies from the region’s leading drama industries. They include seasoned academics who have dedicated their careers to following the debates occurring in and around Middle Eastern media and politics, as well as emerging scholars who build on earlier work by introducing fresh perspectives. All contributions attend to the complex nexus of relations linking producers, productions, broadcasting, and reception.

Guest Editors’ Introduction (Nour Halabi and Christa Salamandra)

ResurReaction : Competing Versions of Turkey’s (proto)Ottoman Past in Magnificent Century and Resurrection Ertugrul (Josh Carney)

Past Continuous : The Chronopolitics of Representation in Syrian Television Drama (Christa Salamandra)

Social Media Activism in Egyptian Television Drama : Encoding the Counter-Revolution Narrative (Gianluca P. Parolin)

Visualizing Inequality : The Spatial Politics of Revolution Depicted in Syrian Television Drama (Nour Halabi)

Red Death and Black Life : Martyrdom and Shame (Esha Momeni)

A Massacre Foretold : National Excommunication in Al-Gama‘a (Walter Armbrust)

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