Dr. Jack G. Shaheen has dedicated his career to identifying and contesting damaging stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims in American media. He has connected their development to the portrayals of other marginalized groups including Jews, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and African Americans. His research analyzes the origins of these visual caricatures, reveals their very real ramifications for innocent people, and presents solutions to counter them effectively.
From October 10-28, the Arab American National Museum (AANM), 13624 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn, presents a fascinating primer on Shaheen's work with the new exhibit A is for Arab: Stereotypes in U.S. Popular Culture. The exhibit, in the AANM's Library & Resource Center, is free and open to the public.
A is for Arab, which features images from The Jack G. Shaheen Archive at New York University (NYU), reveals and critiques the stereotypical portrayals of Arabs and Muslims in U.S. popular culture. Providing historical context about these images which range from film stills to comic books to editorial cartoons, this traveling exhibition aims to educate and stimulate discussion about the impact of stereotypes on both individual perceptions and national policy.
Shaheen is the leading expert on Arab stereotypes in Hollywood films, television shows and elsewhere in popular culture. 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. He is a member of the AANM's National Advisory Board, and co-hosted Arab Images on Film on cable TV's Turner Classic Movies in June 2011.
The exhibit, presented by NYU's Asian/Pacific/American Institute and its Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, premiered February 23, 2012 at NYU, where Shaheen is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar. A is for Arab travels next to Indiana State University for display Nov. 1-14, and then to the 2012 Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting in Denver Nov. 17-20. Those interested in bringing this exhibit to other venues will find information HERE.
Additional information on the stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims, including video interviews and blog posts, is available on the AANM website www.arabstereotypes.org, guest curated by Dr. Evelyn Alsultany of the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.