Books & Reviews
Instant Nationalism contains a wealth of material and a useful set of questions to be explored in further studies of transnational media in the Middle East and the shaping of regional public perception and political action, argues Becky Schulthies.
Journalism in Iran and Media, Culture and Society in Iran will help academic and general audiences navigate between simplistic ‘reformist versus hardliner’ narratives by bringing social science perspectives to bear on the historical development and contemporary diversity of Iran’s media, writes Managing Editor Will Ward.
“Shafik shows that cinema has enabled filmmakers and viewers to go through cathartic exercises to express dissatisfaction, grief, imaginary empowerment and solidarity, and argues that this artistic channel is especially important because Egypt lacks an adequate civil society,” writes Nesreen Khashan.
Josh Rushing’s Mission Al Jazeera is cookie-cutter "celebrity bio" whose analysis of Al Jazeera and other Arab media developments relies heavily on other scholars, says Tom Scudder.
While the strength of the writing and research varies by chapter, New Media and the New Middle East adds valuable data to a field where usage statistics and baseline information about audiences and advertising are virtually non-existent, says Book Reviews Editor Courtney C. Radsch.
“While many contributors present fresh ethnographic research and �their weak arguments, inconclusive results and poor editing undermine the collection as a whole,” argues Anna Swank in her review of Arab Media and Political Renewal: Community, Legitimacy and Public Life.
Steve Tatham makes a strong contribution to correcting the record on Al Jazeera, especially in the wake of the negative publicity directed against the channel by American officials after September 11th and during the continuing war in Iraq, says Laura Smith in her review of Losing Arab Hearts and Minds: The Coalition, Al-Jazeera and Muslim Public Opinion.
BOOK REVIEW | Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East
Cairo Cosmopolitan sets the tone and the standard for future work on the relationship between Cairo’s people and its urban space, yet it remains to be seen whether the broadly-conceived 'Cairo School’ will be taken as a bold new direction in urban studies, argues Managing Editor Will Ward.
Mustafa Kabha’s work falls well short of its considerable promise to chart the influence of Arabic news media on the evolution of the Palestinian National Movement in the tumultuous years that culminated in the Revolt of 1936-39, argues Aaron Jakes in his review of The Palestinian Press as Shaper of Public Opinion, 1929-1939: Writing Up a Storm.
BOOK REVIEW | Filming the Modern Middle East: Politics in the Cinemas of Hollywood and the Arab World
Lina Khatib laments the fact that “the number of studies on the way the Middle East represents itself cinematically � is infinitesimal.” Yet because Khatib does not pursue this much-needed study herself in a field where there are already a number of survey-type works, she misses a valuable opportunity to engage with the Arab cinema on a deeper level of analysis, argues Refqa Abu-Remaileh.
The methodological shortcomings and scarce editing make this book a frustrating read. The lessons to be taken from this book regard the challenges facing Arab media studies as much as those facing Arab media, argues Contributing Editor Sune Haugbolle.
BOOK REVIEW | American Encounters with Arabs: The “Soft Power” of U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Middle East
Readers of American Encounters will be heartened by the reminder that — regardless of the administration or specific policy — there remain elements in the U.S. foreign policy establishment dedicated to engaging with Arab audiences and keeping avenues of communication open, argues Will Ward.
With Riverbend’s blog, no longer is the reader limited to news reports from major networks or White House press conferences: the blog phenomena and particularly that of Riverbend and her blogging peers represents an uncensored real-time account of war, politics, and the perils of neo-imperialism, says Alexandra Izabela Jerome.
For its willingness to take on and expose dominant elite ideologies, this book deserves real credit, argues Courtney Radsch.
BOOK REVIEW | Media Politics and Democracy in Palestine: Political Culture, Pluralism, and the Palestinian Authority
This book is a useful resource for understanding the post-Oslo dynamics of the Palestinian Authority and the public sphere in general, but it fails to offer conclusive insights, says Julie Norman.
‘Muhajababes’ is hardly a title most academic journals would be interested in. But to ignore this book purely because it targets a wide audience would be a grave mistake, argues Managing Editor George Weyman.
Even if Dor’s book is only a case study, it nevertheless contributes to the general debate about how media can contribute to democracy and political freedom, says Jan Voelkel.