Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"American Representations of the Middle East and North Africa"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Summer 2015 - DURI
Research area(s):
History and English Departments
Project Description:
Ever since eighteenth-century Barbary Corsairs preyed upon hapless ships in the Mediterranean Sea, Americans have employed the Arab world as an exotic setting in a variety of publications. For 300 years, the resulting narratives, whether in factual or fictional accounts, rarely provide accurate portraits of the Arab world, but the authors's comparisons between life abroad and life at home unintentionally reveal much about American values and attitudes. For this project, students will in particular analyze Hollywood films as a vehicle for representing the people and politics of North Africa and also for discussing American values and attitudes. The intern will do the work of a historian in reading primary sources, while also applying the theories associated with literary analysis, such as critical race theory or postcolonial studies.
Expected Student Contributions:
The intern will have a very busy summer: 1) The intern will accompany me to LA and collect relevant documents in the archives of the Margaret Herrick Film Library and the UCLA Television and Film Archive from June 1 to June 21. 2) Upon the intern's return from LA, she will collate and analyze these documents. 3) The intern will write two encyclopedia entries on Race and Cinema for ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Press, and these are "The Sheik" (1921) and "The Thief of Baghdad" (1924). 4) The intern will produce a conference paper that will be presented at an international gathering of history undergraduates in Budapest in October 2015. 5) The intern will begin to research and write on Arabs in American silent films.
Related Website(s):
See History Department Directory
Desired Qualifications:
I would like to work with someone who has taken my class on "American Representations of the Middle East and North Africa" and also worked for one year on this project.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?

Professor in Charge

Holden, Stacy

Student Supervisor

Stacy E. Holden
Associate Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Manushag Powell
English Department, CLA
Derek Pacheco
English Department, CLA