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At War in Afghanistan

November 17, 2011

“Why do they hate us?” was a continual question I got teaching about the Middle East on my return to the U.S. in 2002.

Unpacking what is meant by “they” is a very useful and interesting project, to be followed by a parsing of what is meant by “us.”

But in the end, we are still left with a question: what do people in the Middle East think about people in the United States? I usually turn this into a question of representation. If US media overrepresents people in the Middle East as terrorists and religious fanatics, how do their media portray us?

This is a lecture using Egyptian political cartoons to illustrate how the US was being represented in Middle Eastern popular discourse after the beginning of the war in Afghanistan. I first gave it in 2002, and I’ve used it on and off ever since. It’s getting a little long in the tooth now, but it’s still useful if properly contextualized.

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