A decade after the 9/11 attacks, educators concerned with social justice issues are faced with the question of how media representations powerfully constitute the subjectivities of teachers and students. The roles of Muslim women in society are often narrowly construed and projected via media cultures – an unofficial curriculum of the everyday much more influential than the formal curriculum on offer in our schools. Given that much of what we “know” about Muslims we learn from the mass media, it seems urgent that as educators we become more attuned to how they are being portrayed and how such depictions are complexly taken up and/or resisted. In this paper I analyze how dominant meanings about Muslim women are produced in print news media sites, stressing connections in-between local and global contexts. I am particularly interested in visual epistemologies and how meanings produced via media images come to be attached to the bodies of North American Muslim women. I then propose three pedagogical strategies for taking up media images in the classroom to disrupt dominant meanings that reproduce binary understandings of self and other. Drawing upon relational theories of identity and learning, I argue for a need to interrogate and negotiate identities in ways that move us beyond simplistic understandings of self and other towards more complex, embodied meanings.
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Watt, D. (2013). The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post-9/11 world: Reading Images of Muslim Women in the Print News Media. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.23860/jmle-4-1-4