Date of Graduation

12-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Comparative Literature (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Graduate School

Advisor

Mohja Kahf

Committee Member

Keith Booker

Second Committee Member

Ted Swedenburg

Keywords

Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Hyperreality; Media studies; National narratives; Palestinian film

Abstract

Both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have developed diametrically opposed national narratives and identities that are both predicated on the concept of victimization. These narratives have developed into simulacral narratives as the result of the nature of their development. This paper deals with the Palestinian simulacral narrative which bolsters societal values, particularly the value of victimhood, that are crucial to coping with the prolonged conflict. The Western media, at any given moment during the conflict, has either accepted the concept of Palestinian's as victims of the conflict and the Palestinian simulacral narrative, or rejected it. The media then produces a hyperreality of the conflict for its Western viewers which influences the West's acceptance or rejection of the Palestinian simulacral narrative. This paper uses Michel Khleifi's Canticle of the Stones, Hany Abu-Assad's Paradise Now, and Elia Sulieman's Chronicle of a Disappearance and Divine Intervention to examine the degree to which Palestinian films confirm or contradict the societal beliefs that contribute to the prolongation of the conflict and the relationship between the presentation of those beliefs, the hyperreality of the Western community, and Western public opinion. It also examines the relationship between the presentation of violence in the films and the presence of violence in Palestine.

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