Nadav Samin

Cultural Policies in the Middle East

Department of Near Eastern Studies

Nadav's research investigates the conflict over the production of arts and culture in contemporary Saudi Arabia, and the complex cultural policies of Arab countries in the age of globalization. Which national actors have the right to dramatize the history of Arab tribes whose dominions once ranged across national borders, and in what fashion? What is the balance between the entertainment value of tribal documdramas and their historial veracity? These questions consider the significance of both the content of culture and the allocation of resources for its production. In a region where the state dominates both civil society and the private sector, the line between government-sponsored and independent cultural production is often difficult to make out. As a consequence, cultural policy in the Middle East is almost inseparable from politics as such. Yet too often, Arabia is assumed to be the sum of only two parts, oil and religious conservatism. It is my hope that examining Saudi Arabian society through a multi-faceted investigation of its television programming will lead to a richer understanding of cultural policy in this crucially important region of the world.