Scholarship on Race and Media Studies
My research examines the construction of Muslim identities in visual media, specifically the post-9/11 representations of Muslims and Arabs across high grossing Hollywood films. The project has generated two manuscripts. The first article, “Racialization of Muslim body & space in Hollywood,” is a recent publication in the Journal of Sociology of Race & Ethnicity. This manuscript conceptualizes the racialization process across visual illustrations of the post-9/11 Muslim identities in Hollywood films. Using eleven high grossing post-9/11 Hollywood films on terrorism and the Middle East, I analyze how films racialize Muslim identities in service to Islamophobia. This research brings together racialization theory with analysis of political ideologies that illustrate visualized racialized meanings on Muslim identities. The racialized portrayals of Muslim bodies inscribed in the political rhetoric of the War on Terror follow a systemic process of ethno-racial cultural othering that objectifies, vilifies, and dehumanizes Muslim identities. I demonstrate how films engage in the political processes of racial construction of Muslim identities by criminalizing their gendered identity, dehumanizing their body, and devaluing their territorial/physical space in the context of the War on Terror.
The second manuscript is currently a working paper titled “White savior identities in the context of the War on Terror.” It focuses on the construction of white characters and the notion of the white savior complex. I illuminate the construction of whiteness in contrast to the racialized portrayals of Muslim identities that are presented as both demonic and innocent. The protagonist white man is the savior of the ruined Middle East and offers modernity and education to the savage and evil Muslim terrorist. This project illustrates the imperialistic, historical, political, and ideological notions of how religion is vilified in contemporary ways that justify the logics of the War on Terror and reinforce the hegemonic frameworks of white supremacy.