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Strömberg, Fredrik: "“Yo, rag-head!”. Arab and Muslim Superheroes in American Comic Books after 9/11." In: Amerikastudien 56.4 (2011), S. 573–602.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Stromberg2011a
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Keywords: Arabien, Diskursanalyse, Ethnizität, Islam, Superheld, USA
|Attachments||URLs http://www.jstor.org/stable/235094 ...|
The relationship between the United States and the Arab/Muslim world has been problematic, to say the least, and has left its mark on American popular culture in general and on comics in particular. A small number of studies conducted in the 1980s and 1990s about the portrayal of Arabs and Muslims in American comics have shown a profusion of negative stereotypes and a conspicuous absence of Arab and/or Muslim heroes. This essay revisits this discourse and examines the ways in which Arabs and Muslims have been portrayed in the most American of all genres—the superhero comic book—since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In order to understand how these comics communicate ideas and representations of the ‘Arab/Middle Eastern/Muslim’ to American readers, this essay conducts a critical discourse analysis based on the idea of the ‘Oriental Other.’ After 9/11, the number of characters who are portrayed as Arab Muslims, Arab Americans, and American Muslims, both male and female, from the openly devout and zealous to the privately and nominally religious, has increased noticeably. Although such characters seem to have been created to resist stereotypical or racist configurations of Arabs and/or Muslims as terrorists, they nonetheless partake in the ‘Othering’ of these groups in American public discourse through stereotypes in both visual and verbal communication, and thus often unintentionally reinforce rather than counteract stereotypes of the Oriental Other.
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