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(Re)thinking Orientalism

Using Graphic Narratives to Teach Critical Visual Literacy


Rachel Bailey Jones

(Re)thinking Orientalism is a text that examines the visual discourse of Orientalism through the pedagogy of contemporary graphic narratives. Using feminist, critical race, and postcolonial theoretical and pedagogical lenses, the book uses visual discourse analysis and visual semiology to situate the narratives within Islamophobia and neo-Orientalism in the post-9/11 media context. In the absence of mainstream media that tells the complex stories of Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world, there has been a wave of publications of graphic narratives written and drawn from various perspectives that can be used to create curriculum that presents culture, religion, and experience from a multitude of perspectives. The book is an accessible, upper level undergraduate/graduate level text written to give readers insights into toxic xenophobia created through media representation. It provides a theoretical foundation for students to engage in critical analysis and production of visual media.
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7 Graphic Narratives from Inside the Iranian, Egyptian, and Tunisian Protests: The Tunisian Awakening, Rise, Zahra’s Paradise, and Qahera



Graphic Narratives from Inside the Iranian, Egyptian, and Tunisian Protests: The Tunisian Awakening, Rise, Zahra’s Paradise, and Qahera

This chapter examines and analyzes the graphic narratives that have very recently been published that address experiences on the ground of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, parts of the Arab Spring. The media representations of the uprisings presented partial views of the protests from the outside. The work in these graphic narratives gives Western readers more complex, grounded perspectives on the lead-up to and context for the protests and revolutionary movements. Qahera (Mohamed, 2013) is a web comic, dealing with sexual harassment in the Egyptian protest movements along with other gendered issues of importance. Zahra’s Paradise (Amir & Khalil, 2011) is a recent narrative detailing a fictionalized account of the contested 2009 election in Iran and the disappearance of many young protesters. All of these texts were created by authors and artists living and working in the country and culture that form the setting for the texts. They present an insider perspective for those outside of the events and those looking in from other countries and cultures.

The Tunisian Awakening

The graphic narrative, The Tunisian Awakening, by Hussein (2011), is a hastily self-published tome that details the recent history of the Tunisian uprising against tyrant leader Ben Ali. The book is not a personal memoir but ← 137 | 138 → an attempt by Hussein to capture in image and text the immediacy of the...

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