Conference “Trends in Higher Education in the Muslim World: Film and Media Analysis” Free University of Bolzano, October 7-8, 2011


The First Conference of Film and Media Analysis at the Faculty of Education of the Free University of Bolzano, Italy, focused on educational film analysis and its relation to common research methods in cultural investigations. Evolving pedagogies provide exciting opportunities for academics and artists to investigate the role of film and media as witness and voice of social reality. Scholars, artists and civic group leaders need to focus on the visual component as it effects the individual’s ability to learn. The most recent trends in the use of visual literacy to reflect/depict physical cultural shifts in immigration and cultural mores were addressed. The focal point of the different films and texts reflected and problematized the position of visual representations as a new meeting place for people and researchers from different disciplines.

Using panel presentations, workshop discussions and film critique sessions a number of international productions of recent years were referenced and screened. These productions combined social and educational science with performative medias to explore power and ideology from theoretical and historical vantage points. Several experts showed how performative medias can be represented as a new, complementary research method in the different sciences. The thematic focus of the conference was on Islam and modernity, and the Islamic cultural diaspora, with particular emphasize on different ways to look at and interpret the position of Muslim women and Islamic Feminism. Through visual representations we highlighted and discussed changes of traditional cultural foundations of Muslim societies, cultural shifts in immigration patterns and varying cultural mores of the Muslim population in the Arabian Gulf and northern Africa.

This multi-disciplinary conference provided a forum for scientists, institutions, organizations, students and individuals to engage in cultural, political, social, historical, ethnographic and pedagogical discourse and perspectives from the fields of education, sociology, ethnology, political science, anthropology, film, media and cultural and communication studies and women’s studies.

A sampling of performative social science films and texts were screened, including

“Islamic polygyny-modern Oman” (2011) by Annemarie Profanter (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy) Stephanie Ryan Cate (University of Alabama, USA), Arda Nederveen (Independent Filmmaker, The Netherlands)
“Fashioning Faith” (2010) by Yasmin Moll (Researcher, USA/Egypt)
“Young and Invisible”: African Domestic Workers in Yemen (2008) by Marina de Regt (University of Berlin, Germany), Arda Nederveen (Independent Filmmaker, The Netherlands)
“Kampala Babel” (2008) by Cecilia Pennacini (University of Torino, Italy)
“Young Arabs” (2008) by Michael Graziano & Ernie Joong-eun Park (uji films, USA)

Theoretical input:
Kathrin Oester, Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland
Michael Graziano & Ernie Joong-eun Park, uji films, USA
Yasmin Moll, Department of Anthropology, New York University, USA/Egypt
Cecilia Pennacini, Department of Anthropological Sciences, University of Turin, Italy
Gerd Becker, Johannes Gutenburg Universität Mainz, Germany
Marina de Regt, University of Berlin, Germany
Stephanie Ryan Cate, University of Alabama Huntsville, USA
Annemarie Profanter, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy