Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Winter/Spring Booknotes

The Aesthetics of Violence in Contemporary Media, by Gwyn Symonds (Continuum, 2008). “Uses existing studies for the empirical audience reception data combined with discussions of the different representations of violence to look at violence in the media as an art form of its own. Looking at "The Simpsons," "Bowling for Columbine" and Norma Khouri's "Forbidden Love," to name a few.” –Publisher’s description

Arabs in the Mirror: Images and Self-Images from Pre-Islamic to Modern Times, by Nissim Rejwan (University of Texas, 2008). The author has assembled a collection of writings by Arab and Western intellectuals, who try to define what it means to be Arab. He begins with pre-Islamic times and continues to the last decades of the twentieth century, quoting thinkers ranging from Ibn Khaldun to modern writers such as al-Ansari, Haykal, Ahmad Amin, al-'Azm, and Said. Through their works, Rejwan shows how Arabs have grappled with such significant issues as the influence of Islam, the rise of nationalism, the quest for democracy, women's status, the younger generation, Egypt's place in the Arab world, Israel's role in Middle Eastern conflict, and the West's ‘cultural invasion.’”—Publisher’s website

Asian Americans and the Media, by Kent A. Ono (Polity Press, 2009). "Offers us the much needed critical tools, terminology, and historical framework for reading, deconstructing, and intervening in the politics of ambivalent representation of Asian Americans across a wide range of old and new media, from silent films to YouTube." –Elena Tajima Creef, Wellesley College

The Big Picture: Why Democracies Need Journalistic Excellence, by Jeffrey Scheuer (Routledge, 2008). “Explores journalistic excellence from three broad perspectives. First, from the democratic perspective, he shows how journalism is a core democratic function, and journalistic excellence a core democratic value. Then, from an intellectual perspective, he explores the ways in which journalism addresses basic concepts of truth, knowledge, objectivity, and ideology. Finally, from an institutional perspective, he considers the role and possible future of journalism education, the importance of journalistic independence, and the potential for nonprofit journalism to meet the journalistic needs of a democratic society.” –Publisher’s description

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