Date of Thesis Acceptance
Major Department or Program
Race and Ethnic Studies
Dr. Tarik Ahmed Elseewi
More than a million viewers sat with their eyes glued to the television every Sunday evening during the first season of Homeland, which premiered on October 2, 2011. While Homeland is widely known in the United States, it is less well recognized that its premise was derived from an Israeli drama called Hatufim (Prisoners of War) that aired between 2010 and 2012. Both Hatufim and Homeland detail the lives of prisoners of war as they return home after years in captivity.
This thesis examines the shows side-by-side as cultural artifacts, asking the following research question: how do Hatufim and Homeland articulate the anxieties and ambitions of the nations that produced them? I argue that both dramas buttress a dominant political agenda in their respective countries – that of justifying domestic and foreign policies on the basis of self-defense. The shows achieve this through their Orientalist representations of the Arab and/or Muslim Other and their portrait of American and Israeli national victimhood.
Despite important differences in the shows’ plot, characters and themes, I conclude that the content of both Hatufim and Homeland reveals a fundamental commonality in the two nations’ conceptions of the threats they face and the tactics they must use to preserve their ways of life.
Culture -- Comparison, Ethics & politics, War -- Television series, Homeland (Television program : 2011- ) -- Comparison, Television programs -- Criticism and interpretation, Television programs -- Israel -- Hatufim, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2016 -- Race and Ethnic Studies
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