ARAB 150: Introduction to Arab Cultures
For Raymond Williams, the distinguished British thinker, the concept of culture could broadly mean one of two things. Culture could stand for the entire way of life of a society with its beliefs, norms, sensibilities, practices and institutions. Culture also famously refers to the arts with their internal distinctions between high, popular, independent and underground streams. We will look into these different facets of modern and contemporary Arab cultures through a variety of works: memoirs, novels, prison notebooks, films, comic books, theoretical tracts, music, psychiatric case-studies, histories, and ethnographies. How do these authors depict key historical transformations taking place in the Arab world? What are the different angles through which political questions are tackled? How do these different works negotiate the relationship between Self and Other? These will be some of the central questions that will guide our explorations of Arab cultures. LA, BN.