Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Understanding Student and Faculty Perceptions of Muslims in Movies
Contributor(s):Rana, Junaid
Movie Industry
Minority Religions
Abstract:Ultimately, I would like my project to answer the questions: Do students at the University of Illinois who frequently watch movies consider their attitudes regarding Islam affected by depictions of Muslims in popular film? How does the faculty at the University of Illinois educate students’ about Muslim depictions in movies? It is often said that the constant bombardment of media on our conscious greatly affects our personal opinions and outlooks. With this project, I explore whether or not students consciously believe that they are impacted by the portrayal of different cultures in Hollywood movies. Using such an approach, I hope to gain insight into whether or not students view movies as fictional and thus easily dismissible, or if they view movies as believable and authentic, ultimately causing them to absorb the images which they see. Additionally, the University of Illinois offers several courses regarding the portrayal of minority cultures in movies within its Media and Cinema Studies Department. Such courses are MACS 100, MACS 211, MACS 273, MACS 295, MACS 321, and MACS 365. I would like to ask the professors who instruct these courses how, if at all, they teach their students about Muslim representation in movies. They may be able to give further interpretation regarding the portrayal of Islam in popular film in addition to instances in which students discussed the depiction of various religions in movies. By utilizing the experience of the professors, I hope to gain insight into the University of Illinois’ official approach to teaching about Muslims in movies and additional instances in which students reacted to and analyzed the depiction of Islam on the “silver screen”.
Issue Date:2016-05
Course / Semester:AAS 258; Spring 2016
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-05-26

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  • Student Learning
    This collection examines student learning both in and beyond the classroom.

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