“Most of our impressions of the Middle East come through the media, and they are stereotypically negative,” wrote Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi. “In films, on TV, in magazines and newspapers, the area appears to be populated with terrorists and women who are oppressed. On the face of it, American students might assume they are much different than their counterparts in the Middle East. That is, until they get to know each other.”
And it was with that in mind that Guerrazzi launched SJSU’s first faculty-led trip to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. She and a half dozen students left the Bay Area on Jan. 6 for a two-week trip to a region of the world capturing headlines and captivating Americans. Their action-packed itinerary includes sand surfing, camel riding, spice markets and a desert safari. But academics remain at the forefront.
“We will visit three emirates … keeping our sights set on cultural perception as perpetuated by the media. We will produce a documentary of this experience, interviewing Americans, Emiratis and journalists. We’ll be recording reactions to the cultural differences and noting the laws governing media content … This is more than a study of media differences; this is an examination of a cultural divide, perceptions and misperceptions.”