"Images from Elsewhere"

An Interview with Serge Adda

by Miriam Rosen
published in MER180

“You chase colonialism out the door, it comes back through the sky,” observed the Algerian Press Service several years ago, alluding to the phenomenon of satellite broadcasting that has literally brought European television into the living rooms of North Africa. [1] More than 95 percent of urban households in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco have televisions, and more than 30 percent have video decks. Parabolic antennas are sprouting like inverted mushrooms on rooftops around the southern Mediterranean (estimates for Algeria alone range between 1.3 and 2.2 million households, or 8 to 17 million viewers). [2]

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From Broadcasting to Narrowcasting

Middle Eastern Diaspora in Los Angeles

by Hamid Naficy
published in MER180

Transnational media conglomerates and television networks from RCA to Associated Press to CNN have created and dominated a model of broadcasting which might be called “centralized global broadcasting.” Worldwide restructurings and rapid technological advances, though, have ushered in a new model of television which could be termed “decentralized global narrowcasting.” Middle Eastern television programs in Los Angeles are an example of developments in mass media which have led to the emergence of so-called minority and ethnic television and video. Their programs constitute part or the dynamic and multifaceted popular cultures produced and consumed by immigrant and exile communities in southern California.

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Islam and Public Culture

The Politics of Egyptian Television Serials

by Lila Abu-Lughod
published in MER180

Walk the streets of Cairo or village lanes in Egypt any early evening and you will see the flicker of television screens and hear the dialogue and music of the current serial (musalsal). Read the newspapers and you will find articles and cartoons that can only be understood if one is following these televised dramas. The serials, usually composed of 15 episodes aired daily, seem to set the very rhythms of national life. Extensive access to television and limited broadcast hours and channels mean that the audience can sometimes include a majority of Egyptians.

Revolution and Counter-Revolution in the Egyptian Media

by Ursula Lindsey | published February 15, 2011

It took 18 days of mass mobilization, the deaths of hundreds and the wounding of thousands, the crippling of Egypt’s tourism industry and the crash of its stock market, to bring an end to the 30-year presidency of Husni Mubarak. And almost every minute of the revolution was televised.

Spatial Fantasies

Israeli Popular Culture After Oslo

by Rebecca L. Stein
published in MER216

Rivka, the tragic protagonist of Amos Gitai's new film Kadosh, is unable to conceive a child. Her anxiety is acute. The ultra-Orthodox community of Me'ah She'arim in West Jerusalem, in which Rivka lives with her husband Meir, is known to ostracize its barren women. Seeking spiritual guidance, she leaves their home one evening to pray. The camera follows Rivka as she walks through the darkened streets of Me'ah She'arim, then cuts to her arrival in the spacious, well-lit courtyard of the Western Wall. Hands pressed against the stones, she seeks salvation.