The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
Skip navigation links

Sample Proposal: Global Cultures

College of Liberal Arts

Please direct all questions about the flag proposal process to the Center for the Core Curriculum.

MES 322K: Women Filmmakers in the Middle East

Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Please describe specifically which non-U.S. community, country, or coherent regional grouping of countries, past or present, will be studied.

This course introduces students to the vast array of subject matter and cinematographic styles engaged by contemporary women filmmakers in the Middle East, with special focus on Turkey as home to one of the emerging centers of women filmmakers in the region. Students will view and discuss 12 films produced and/or directed by women filmmakers of varied national, ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic backgrounds. Five of these films will be Turkish, and the other seven will be from Iran, Israel, and the Arab world. All films will be screened in the original language/s with English subtitles. No prior knowledge of a Middle Eastern language is necessary; however, students with knowledge of a particular Middle Eastern language or country may choose to focus their viewing project on a film, set of films or a filmmaker related to that language/country. Weekly readings, post-viewing discussions and response papers about the documentary, autobiographical, fictional and art films selected will deepen participants’ insight into the socio-cultural dilemmas experienced by many Middle Eastern women in the 20th and 21st centuries and also heighten their awareness of the filmmakers’ political and aesthetic concerns.

What are typical readings or other materials in the course or class related to Global Cultures?

In addition to reading a number of scholarly articles about particular films viewed, (for example: “Serpil Kirel’s “A Struggle to Change the World: Pelin Esmer’s Documentary ‘The Play’, from the journal ‘Culture, Language and Representation. ISSN 1697-7750. Vo. VIII/2010, pp. 97-113), and interviews with the twelve filmmakers studied, students will read selected articles from the following texts:

  • The Cinema of North Africa and the Middle East (2007). Ed. Gönül Dönmez-Colin. Wallflower Press. London.
  • Dönmez-Colin, Gönül. (2006) Cinemas of the Other. A Personal Journey with Film-makers from the Middle East and Central Asia. Intellect Books. Bristol, UK/Portland, OR.
  • Dönmez-Colin, Gönül. (2008) Turkish Cinema. Identity, Distance and Belonging. Reaktion Books. London.
  • Dönmez-Colin, Gönül. (2004) Women, Islam and Cinema. Reaktion Books. London.
  • Feminism and Film Theory (1988). Ed. Constance Penley. Routledge/New York and BFI Publishing/London. ISBN-13: 978-041501086.
  • Feminist Film Theory. A Reader (1999). Ed. Sue Thornham. NYU Press. New York.
  • The New Iranian Cinema: Politics, Representation and Identity. Ed. Richard Tapper. I.B. Tauris. London/New York.
  • Suner, Asuman. (2010). New Turkish Cinema. Belonging, Identity and Memory. I.B. Tauris. London/New York.

Describe typical assignments related to Global Cultures.

As stated in the course description, participants will be expected to attend the weekly film screenings, complete weekly reading and writing assignments, participate actively in class discussions, and pursue one thematically organized, independent viewing project. An example of a discussion prompt for a weekly writing assignment would be: “How does Yesim Ustagolu’s film, “Breaking the Clouds”, portray the relationship of dominant (Turkish/Muslim) culture, (Black Sea coastal) tradition and silence? Please provide an analysis of at least three points in the film when that linked trio of powers breaks down, allowing alternate cultures/identities/language to emerge.” Students will complete this sort of 2-3 pg. writing assignment and share it with a classmate electronically. Students will then be asked to write a half-page critical response to their partners, commenting on their papers. The thematically organized, independent viewing project, which is worth 1/4 of the final grade, will include a number of required steps with assigned dates to ensure that all students do the necessary research, critical thinking, drafting, revising and editing of their written projects, as well as extra preparation and tech-rehearsal for their oral presentations. Students will be encourage to pursue their own interests in particular Middle Eastern filmmakers, cultural themes or sub-themes. Students may focus on a set of films by one filmmaker or multiple filmmakers from one Middle Eastern country or several Middle Eastern countries.

Please explain how at least one-third of the course grade is based on content related to Global Cultures.

Grading: Students’ course grade will be based on active participation in class discussions (20%); satisfactory completion of (4 out of 5) reader response papers (40%); their performance on a mid-term critical essay test (15%) and the quality of their final viewing project, which will include both a critical essay and an oral presentation (25%).

Return to Proposal Tips: Global Cultures.