Date of Graduation

5-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Graduate School

Advisor

M. Keith Booker

Committee Member

Les Wade

Second Committee Member

Frank Scheide

Keywords

American Cinema, American Theatre, Globalization, Iraqi Cinema and Theatre, Middle East Cinema and Theatre, Utopia

Abstract

Many American and Iraqi cultural reactions to Gulf War I and Gulf War II, including the texts selected for this story, expressed the dystopian consequences of these wars. However, this study focuses on exploring the utopian dimensions of the selected texts and investigates how these texts attempt to reconcile both sides of the conflict and produce visions toward a global utopia. Significantly, this study represents the visions toward a global utopia as a series of visions toward oneness. That is, oneness of human beings over otherness, oneness of different nation states under one global community, and oneness of cultural productions’ utopian visions beyond all ideological differences. To do that, this study uses Fredric Jameson’s dialectical approach of ideological and utopian analysis that he suggests in his book The Political Unconscious. This study discusses three American and three Iraqi cultural texts’ political reactions to the Gulf Wars. The cultural texts are movies and plays produced by Hollywood and independent companies. The American cultural texts are Three Kings directed by David O. Russell, The Situation directed by Philip Haas, and An Identified Enemy written by Max Bush. The Iraqi cultural texts are Zaman: The Man from the Reeds directed by Amer Alwan, Ambulance Driver, directed by Hadi Mahood, and A Strange Bird on Our Roof written by Abdul Razaq Al-Rubai. Besides explaining the ideological constraints of their ruling classes, this study also explores these texts’ utopian impulses. It illustrates that these texts envision borderless brotherhood, one global family, nonracial love, and denationalization as visions toward a global utopia. They also suggest these visions as alternatives to many status quos dominated by sociopolitical and socioeconomic strategies of capitalism, totalitarianism, nationalism, and the extreme perspectives of terrorism. Intrinsically, this study will show that the selected texts express visions with both futuristic and cosmopolitan aspects. They embody distinguished projects toward eliminating clashes or confrontations among human beings because of national, racial, religious, and economic contentions. In short, this study will show that the selected texts produce utopian visions offering a movement toward a universal peace and a peaceful universe.

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