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Middle East Studies Committee presents Harvard's Dr. Steve Caton on Feb. 9

Feb 3, 2009 -- Arkansas State University-Jonesboro’s Middle East Studies Committee will host a speaker, Monday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Reng StudenDr. Steve Caton will speak on the image of the "White Sheik" in 20th century popular culture on Monday, Feb. 9, 7 p.m., ASU Student Union Auditorium. t Services Center/Student Union Auditorium, 101 North Caraway Road, Jonesboro. This lecture is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Dr. Steve Caton, professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Harvard University, will present "From T.E. Lawrence to Special Operation Forces: The White Sheik as a Modular Image in 20th Century Popular Culture." While Caton’s earliest work was in anthropological linguistics and poetics, he “fell under the spell of Hollywood cinema,” according to his website, and that interest, coupled with various theories of orientalist knowledge, resulted in his showing of  David Lean’s epic film “Lawrence of Arabia” to his students. When his students pointed out the film’s multitude of representative complexities,
he decided to pursue a full-fledged film analysis. As Caton says, the endeavor  “took me into the fascinating labyrinths of film theory and cultural studies,” and resulted in his book, “Lawrence of Arabia: A Film's Anthropology (1999).” For additional information, see Caton's site

Caton teaches one or two courses in the main areas of his research each year, including Harvard’s Anthropology 104, "Language and Culture,” an introduction to the field of anthropological linguistics, with an emphasis on structuralism and the ethnography of communication. He also offers Anthropology 210, "The Anthropology of Events," which asks how events can become the objects of analysis in both disciplines as well broader issues such as time and memory. Anthropology 120, "Anthropology, Cultural Studies, and Film," grapples with the formulation of "film industries" paying particular attention to Hollywood, but also exploring Egyptian an
d Iranian film industries.

For more information, contact Dr. Erik Gilbert, History, at (870) 972-2137, or e-mail him at           



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