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Media, Politics & Society: The Arab World In The Global Context

By Tara Graham
Aug 31
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Media, Politics & Society: The Arab World In The Global Context is a website I produced to house all of the student work produced in a Middle Eastern Studies course I taught during the 2011 summer semester.


This six-week Middle Eastern Studies course was principally concerned with the politics of the Middle East and the region’s changing position and portrayal in the world.  In an age marked by dramatic social and technological transformation, the course offered students an innovative and integrated perspective, combining insights from a range of disciplines, including political science, religious studies, international relations, media studies, and international development.

Students participated in a series of lectures and multimedia workshops that exposed them to a wide spectrum of ideas and tools so they could develop the critical research faculties needed to document, analyze, produce, and communicate knowledge of the Middle East throughout the region and beyond. Students were expected to demonstrate an understanding of fundamental debates concerning the way the Middle East is studied and portrayed amongst both academic and non-academic sources/audiences. The objective was to prepare students to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various ‘schools’ of thought and media outlets, to identify underlying assumptions and biases, and to arrive at and defend their own conclusions.

Students launched (individual and group) multi-page websites to house all assignments and content produced over the course of the class. All work produced in the course can be accessed here.

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The Narrative #Selfie


Lose the shirt off my back? Nah.

When life got dicey, I opened my closet doors, bypassed the blouses, and earned a (modest) payday by selling used hangers in 25-pack bundles.

More recently, I put my hustle into play at 500 Startups, the world’s most active venture capital fund and startup accelerator, where I led content, branding, marketing, operations, and corporate partnerships for business development and global programs.

Before transitioning into tech, I worked in higher education, teaching online research and media production classes across a variety of disciplines at the University of California, Berkeley. During that time, I also worked as the Director and Executive Producer of Digital Media Projects at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, where I co-founded and led The #GlobalPOV Project, a mixed-media approach to thinking about poverty, inequality, and undertaking poverty action.

In addition, I was the Director of Media at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, where I had the opportunity to interview Bashar al-Assad in his presidential palace in Damascus, Syria, in late December of 2010. I asked Assad if he considered himself a dictator. He dodged the inquiry, but his actions in the immediate weeks, months, and years to follow answered the question . . . and then some. Sadly.

Before that, I was a practicing journalist and graduate fellow at the University of Southern California. During that time, I worked as a web reporter and photographer for KCET’s “SoCal Connected,”​ as an online editor for the London-based New Statesman magazine, and as the co-editor-in-chief of USC Annenberg’s award-winning digital news website. I got my start in journalism as a full-time associate editor (and employee #20!) at P✪PSUGAR, a Sequoia-backed content and commerce startup turned global media empire.

My freelance reporting has been featured in NBC, CBS, and ABC news broadcasts and in online publications, including The Huffington Post. I have also done manuscript editing for various authors with recognized commercial and university presses.

You can find me tap dancing in the dark corners of my imagination to a sold-out audience of — none. Like most everything else, it’s all for fun.

Let’s connect! Join me on Twitter or Instagram or LinkedIn.


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