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Oriental Images and Image Ethics: The Emirates in Scholarship and Media before and after the Establishment of the State

el-Sayed el-Aswad (United Arab Emirates University)

This paper seeks to trace changes in the images of Emiratis before and after the discovery of oil and the establishment of their state. The study tackles serious questions concerning images of indigenous cultures and tribal-nomadic identities produced by Orientalism. It also discusses the emergence of images of a modern, globalized, and rapidly changing Emirates society. Emirati images presented in scholarship, media and online resources such as flickr, Shutterstock and ozoutback, among others, are examined. Images of Emiratis range from those depicting aspects of traditional Bedouin culture, including herding animals, fishing, camel racing, horse racing, falconry, and sailing, to those portraying modern people driving flashy cars, living in luxurious houses, holding the Emirates flags, enjoying desert safaris, ice-skating, using high tech machines, and shopping in the world’s largest mall in the world’s highest building, among others. Ethical issues related to the positive and negative images of Emirati people are discussed.

View el-Sayed’s discussion online. Tune in from 3.00pm-3.15pm EST Saturday 6 December for the live-stream.


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 Mitali Thakor Sabra Thorner Migual Diaz Barriga Thet Win Brent Luvaas el-Sayed el-Aswad Barbara Hoffman Jessika Tremblay Kendall Roark Aaron Thornburg 

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