Arabic Media Center at Emory

The Arabic Media Center–established in March of 2007 by Emory University’s Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies(MESAS) in conjunction with the Journalism Program–plans to give journalists, scholars, diplomats and leaders of non-governmental organizations the tools to explore perspectives and attitudes of the Arab world that are not always readily apparent. Bonn-based Media Tenor, a media institute in the field of applied agenda-setting research which provides detailed analyses of news reports and strategic media intelligence to major corporations and government agencies (such as the U.S. State Department), is donating the core material for the Center – an analyzable, regularly updated database of Arabic electronic and print media to use for research and training. Members of the Emory community and other scholars and students will be afforded access to the database.

Professor Gordon Newby, chair of MESAS, will serve as the Center’s director and will work with Media Tenor CEO Roland Schatz to create programs and opportunities to link the Arabic print and broadcast media to the Arabic and English-speaking worlds. Schatz founded Media Tenor in 1993 as the first research institute to focus on continuous media analysis.

The Media Tenor Research Journal is available (2003-present) in the Annenberg Library.

Conflicts and Tensions, Volume I in The Cultures and Globalization Series

Conflicts and Tensions, edited by Helmut K. Anheier (Center for Civil Society, School of Public Policy and Social Research, UCLA) and Yudhushthir Raj Isar (The American University of Paris) is the first title in The Cultures and Globalization Series, devoted to the economic and political consequences of globalization.
Analyzing the relationship between globalization and cultures is the core objective of this volume. In it leading experts track cultural trends in all regions of the world, covering issues ranging from the role of cultural difference in politics and governance to heritage conservation, artistic expression, and the cultural industries. —back of book description
Each volume in the series will include a suite of Indicators–“innovative information graphics” to convey information about various cultural phenomena across the globe. The suite is breathtaking visually and for all the information it conveys in this section qualifies the title as a reference book (and thus will have a home in ASC Reference). Visual representations of time spent watching television by country, the reach of Disney (and many other transnational cultural organizations) across cultures, languages of the web, telephone traffic flows in Europe, Latin America and Asia, growth in broadband use and internt use in general, per cent of world public wireless access points, blogs by region, growth in number of blogs and hosting sites, movie attendance, film investment, radio and television station comparisons are just some of the pages I pored over. The suite has a media section from which a lot of these examples come but it also includes other indicator sections on human rights, terrorism, current conflicts between nations, piracy, trafficking, tourism, transportation, patents, diplomacy, and others.
The article From Violence to Discourse: Conflict and Citizens’ Radio Stations in Columbia, by Clemencia Rodriguez and Amparo Cadavid appears in a previous (less visual) section of the 600+ page volume.
The logic behind the series is that promoting understanding between cultures, in this and subsequent volumes, serves in the interest of peace. I’ll be keeping an eye out for forthcoming volumes.

Themed issues on TVIII, language and discrimination, and coloniality

The Journal of Language and Social Psychology (Volume 26, Number 2, June 2007) titled Communication, Language, and Discrimination and edited by Richard Clement features articles that aim to draw attention to “current conceptualizations of the links between language and discrimination, delineate communicative features related to discrimination, focus on the experience of victims of discrimination, and outline measures that may contribute to thwarting discriminatory practices or limiting their impact” (writes Itesh Sachdev in the issue’s Prologue).

New Review of Film and Television Studies (Volume 5, Number 1, April 2007) is devoted to “TVIII.” What is TVIII? “TVI generally refers to the origins of the medium (beginning in the 1930s), a time that John Ellis (2000) has defined as a period of ‘scarcity’ because of its lack of consumer choice. TVII refers to the changes in technologies and institutional structures that took place in the 1980s (deregulation, the introduction of cable and satellite and so on), or what Ellis describes as a period of ‘availability’. TVIII therefore labels television’s present state and beyond; a time of increased fragmentation consumer interactivity and global market economies—what Ellis defines as ‘choice’. As Jane Roscoe has recently put it (2004): Content is more dispersed across… platforms, and our engagement with it is more fleeting. Our experience of contemporary media is fragmented rather than unified or centralised. Instead of our viewing habits being controlled by the ‘flow’ of schedules, our viewing is now clustered around events, and through technologies such as personal video recorders, DVDs, and subscription television services. Choice is the buzzword…” (Issue editors Glen Greeber and Matt Hills in the editorial introduction).

A double issue of Cultural Studies (Volume 21, Numbers 2-3, March/May 2007) is on the subject of coloniality. The issue, edited by Walter D. Mignola is titled Globalization and the De-Colonial Option. Kicking off the issue is “the seminal article by Peruvian sociologist, Anibal Quijano, published at the beginning of the 90s, when the dust of a crumbling Soviet Union was still in everybody eyes. At the beginning of this century [2002], Arturo Escobar (an anthropologist from Columbia current residing in the US) wrote a critical review of what he called ‘the modernity/coloniality research program’.” This article follows the one by Quijano. The rest of the issue reflects the research and publications of those participating in the project that continues to meet yearly and exchange research and views, as reported by W.D. Mignolo in the issu’es introduction, Introduction: Coloniality of Power and De-colonial Thinking). The 500+ page issue is divided into five sections: I The Emergence of An-Other Paradigm, II (De)Colonization of Knowledges and of Beings, III The Colonial Nation-States and the Imperial Racial Matrix, IV (De)Coloniality at Large, and V On Empires and colonial/Imperial Differences.

Declassified Iraq Media War Plan Paper

From the National Security Administration Archive, just released on May 8, 2007: a White Paper and PowerPoint slides on “a critical interim rapid response component” of the United State’s Defense Department’s strategic information campaign for Iraq “in the event hostilities are required to liberate Iraq.” The plan, put together in January of 2003, called for a Rapid Reaction Media Team “to serve as a bridge between Iraq’s formerly state-controlled news outlets and an ‘Iraqi Free Media’ network” (NSAA website).

These documents were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and are posted in their entirety on the NSAA website.

More in the way of explanation from the website:
“The Pentagon team would portray a “new Iraq” offering hope of a prosperous and democratic future, which would serve as a model for the Middle East. American, British, and Iraqi media experts would be hand-picked to provide “approved USG information” for the Iraqi public, while an ensuing “strategic information campaign” would be part of a “likely 1-2 years . . . transition” to a representative government. A new weekly Iraqi newspaper would feature “Hollywood” along with the news.

Defense Department planners envisioned a post-invasion Iraq where the U.S., in cooperation with a friendly Baghdad government, could monopolize information dissemination. They did not account for independent media outlets, the Internet, and all the other alternative sources of information that are available in the modern world. The U.S. media campaign has not been able to control the message – but its execution was privatized, and contracting has made it a profitable enterprise for those able to capitalize on the Pentagon’s largesse.”

The site also includes an “Iraq Media Timeline” that summarizes the U.S. media campaign and the difficult conditions faced by reporters in Iraq.

Issue on Spanish Television in the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies

The latest issue of the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies (Volume 8, Issue 1, 2007) is devoted to Spanish television studies. About half of the articles are in Spanish, half in English. The journal is available in e-format from the main Library webpage. Issue editor Paul Julian Smith sets the table in his introduction, New Approaches to Spanish Television:


“Spanish television is the elephant in the living room. Spaniards are amongst the most devoted watchers of television in the world and the last decade has seen an explosion of locally produced quality fiction in Spain, albeit one that has gone largely unnoticed except by avid viewers. The nightly audience for a single Spanish show (such as El comisario, the police drama that is the subject of one of the essays here) is greater than the annual audience for all Spanish feature films. Yet popular debate in Spain is dominated by the controversy over telebasura, and the relatively few academics who study Spanish television tend to restrict themselves to such topics as government policy toward the medium. Until Smith’s recent Television in Spain, the only book in English on Spanish television was Richard Maxwell’s The Spectacle of Democracy (1995), which focused exclusively on the institutional question of the coming of private television to Spain in the early 1990s.

Clearly the neglect of Spanish television by academics (with major exceptions such as Manuel Palacio) corresponds not only to a longstanding contempt for the medium, especially amongst intellectuals and the press, but also to the practical problem of addressing a huge and diverse object of study. This situation has changed recently with the availability of DVD box sets, which testify both to the new status of television drama, whose formal complexity rewards repeated viewings, and to the emotional investment of audiences in a medium whose intimate connection with everyday life renders it “closer” to Spanish viewers than cinema. Television no longer seems as ephemeral as it once did and scholars in Spain and abroad now have access to a large corpus of Spanish television which stretches back to the Francoist period.

Spanish TV studies can thus begin to address the question of the text: the specific aesthetic of the small screen. Yet that formal question must also be placed within an industrial context. Given the complex nature of TV “authorship” many producers will be at play here: executives (in state-owned TVE or the private channels), practitioners in the independent production companies that now provide the majority of Spanish programming, series creators, screenwriters, and stars. While all of these agents operate within institutional contexts (such as the extensive legislation on broadcasting recently passed by the Socialist government), the specific role of the creativity of producers must also be acknowledged in TV studies, as it is in cinema.

The essays that follow address in variable proportion and from different perspectives the three fields sketched above (that is to say, texts, producers and institutions) from the early years of Spanish broadcasting to the present day.”

Al-Jazeera English Comes to ASC Library

Al-Jazeera English, the 24-hour English-language TV news channel headquartered in Doha, Qatar, can now be viewed in the Annenberg Library during regular library hours. Aimed at emphasizing news from the developing world and resetting the flow of news from South to North, the channel was launched on November 15, 2006. Says staff member Riz Khan, “In my lifetime as a journalist, there will not be another channel launched on this scale.” Programming includes Inside Iraq, 101 East (Asian politics and business), Everywoman (women’s issues in the Middle East), Sportsworld, Witness (daily presentation of short documentaries), 48 (48 hours of daily life in a different city every week), interview programs (including one anchored by Sir David Frost), The Fabulous Picture Show (movies, entertainment), and much more. Our JumpTV access to al-Jazeera English is set up at the far computer opposite the copy room. Ask at the desk if for some reason it is not turned on.

A New Era for Development Dialogue: What Next

The Dag Hammarskjold Foundation’s latest issue of Development Dialogue (No. 47, June 2006) represents the first in a series of publications under the project titled What Next, a sequel to their What Now project thirty years ago which culminated in the famous 1975 report, What Now: Another Development and the monograph Another Development: Approaches and Strategies (1976). What Next will produce three volumes of Development Communication and two longer special reports. In this first in the series of journal issues seven contributors come together to undertake: “Setting the Context,” providing historical perspective and taking stock of major development trends. Volume II will focus on media and communication in addition to international relations, human rights, fundamentalism, and disability. The third volume will focus more on economic issues. The two special reports that are already in preparation focus on carbon trading (currently the main approach to tackling global warming) and modern society’s reliance on technology to solve solve social problems, respectively. A little background on the Foundation and Project from the editors of Volume I of Development Dialogue’s What Next, from “Introducing What Next”:

“The Foundation that Dag Hammarskjold gave name to was established in 1962. Hammarskjold, who perished the previous year in a plane crash in Northern Zambia, died while negotiating peace in the troubled Congo. He was guided by the notion that small countries, especially those that had just emerged from wars of independence and decolonisation, should be able to assert their interests vis-a-vis the major powers and build their own future and destiny. …In areas spanning global health policy, indigenous publishing and cross-cultural communication as well as disarmament, UN reform, plant genetic resources and nanotechnlogy, the Foundation has…attempted to foster broad-based debates on new and viable perspectives. The results of these explorations of social, political, economic and cultural development–particularly in the South but also globally–have been made available to the public in more than 150 publications, including the journal Development Dialogue. ”
Development Dialogue is available in the ASC library, not online.

Jihad database

RAND Voices of Jihad Database describes itself as “a compilation of speeches, interviews, statements, and publications of Jihadist leaders, foot soldiers, and sympathizers. Nearly all content is in English translation, and has been collected from publicly-accessible websites. Content is indexed by date, author, affiliated group, online source, and keyword. Original links are provided, along with excerpts and full-text content when available.” The database is indexed by date, author, affiliated group, online source, and keyword.

China Development Brief

Established in 1996, China Development Brief is an “independent, non-profit publication devoted to strengthening constructive engagement between China and other countries” by offering news on social development in China, reports on environment, and features about civil society in China, all targeted at an international readership of “decision and opinion makers in international development agencies, NGOs, research academies, policy think-tanks and mass media.” There is a Media section to the site that explores the development of Chinese media, including new information technologies.

While we’re on China, the International Journal of Cultural Studies Volume 9, Number 3, September 2006 is a special themed issue titled: Creative Industries and Innovation in China. Edited by Michael Keane and John Hartley, it addresses cultural and scholarly developments in China which it divides into China’s shift towards creative and innovation-based economies, regional aspects of creative industries in China, sectors within creative industries, and specific topics such as copyright and IP law. The issue is an outgrowth/continuation of a previous (2004) special issue of the journal titled: The New Economy, Creativity and Consumption, only with the lens focused solely on China.

Security in an Era of Open Arab Media

The Stanley Foundation, an Iowa-based non-profit founded in 1956 with a longstanding interest in global institutions, has created “a Web feature,” Security in an Era of Open Arab Media, to “explore the rapid rise of pan-Arab satellite television and other open media, examine its impact on the Arab world, and learn how it affects US relations” in the region. The site includes original articles, interviews, policy analysis, and the public radio documentary 24/7: The Rise and Influence of Arab Media, hosted by David Brancaccio. (A complete transcript of the program is also available.) Deeper into the site in the Publications section you can also find a downloadable report called Open Media and Transitioning Societies in the Arab Middle East: Implications for US Security Policy (The Stanley Foundation in association with the Institute for Near East and Bulf Military Analysis, 2005-2006).