Creator: Shaheen, Jack G. (1935-2017)
History: Born in 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Jack G. Shaheen dedicated his career to identifying and contesting damaging stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims in American media. A professor, author, and professional consultant for films such as Syriana and Three Kings, Shaheen, with the help of his wife Bernice Shaheen, collected and analyzed materials which depicted Arabs and Muslims as the godless “cultural other.” The result is the Jack G. Shaheen Archive.
Shaheen’s research analyzes the origins of these visual caricatures, explains their stubborn persistence, reveals their very real ramifications for innocent people, and presents solutions to counter them effectively. He connected their development to the portrayals of other marginalized groups including Jews, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and African Americans. Shaheen wrote several books including The TV Arab (1984), Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs after 9/11 (2008), and the award-winning Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People (2001, 2009), which the Media Education Foundation produced as a documentary in 2006. He served as an Oxford Research Scholar and as a consultant for the Los Angeles Commission on Human Relations, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and New York City’s Commission on Civil Rights.
Most recently, Shaheen was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute and The Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. He received two Fulbright teaching awards, the University of Pennsylvania’s Janet Lee Stevens Award, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Pancho Be Award.
Sources: Media Education Foundation. “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People.” Accessed February 4, 2015. http://www.mediaed.org/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=412.
REEL BAD ARABS: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, Featuring Dr. Jack Shaheen, “About Dr. Jack Shaheen,” Accessed February 4, 2015. http://bit.ly/1xjvDla.
Wolfman Productions, “Shattering Stereotypes: Dr. Jack G. Shaheen, Ph.D.,” Accessed February 5, 2015. http://bit.ly/1CZOvMR.
Summary: The Jack G. Shaheen Archive provides valuable documentation of the representations of Arabs and Muslims in U.S. popular culture and mass media from the early-20th to 21st century. The Archive contains nearly 3,000 moving images including motion pictures (both independent and major studio productions), documentaries, cartoons, newsreels, and television programs (e.g. comedies, dramas, children’s programming, and commercials) on DVDs, VHS tapes, and film prints. The majority of these moving images contain negative portrayals of Arabs and Muslims and, measuring 79.0 linear feet, comprise the bulk of the archive.
Measuring 37.0 are non-fiction, fiction, and children’s books. Topics covered include history (of the U.S., the Middle East, and Arab Americans), film and television studies, politics, sociology, religion, photography, and anthropology. Also included are almanacs, indexes, encyclopedias, bibliographies, and paperback mass-trade novels that feature Orientalist depictions of Arabs and Muslims.
Shaheen’s papers measure 17.5 linear feet and hold research notes and materials, lecture notes, correspondence, articles, magazines, newspaper clippings, editorial cartoons, advertisements, student dissertations, pamphlets, comic books, and published work by Shaheen (including letters to the editor and articles) from ca. the late 1970s-2000s.
An additional 4.0 linear feet contain slides created by Shaheen, and games, toys, and motion picture posters and stills that he accumulated from ca. 1980s to the early 2000s.
Total Size: 137.5
APA-related Size: 137.5
Languages of materials: English
Location: Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University
Bibliographic Control: inventory
Finding Aid: http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/tam_535/tam_535.html
Conditions Governing Access: Contact repository for detailed information on conditions governing access.