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'A is for Arab' Traveling Exhibit at WIU in January; Opening Reception Jan. 15

January 10, 2014

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MACOMB, IL – An eight-panel exhibit, which offers an overview and historical context for the images of Arabs and Muslims found in more than a century of popular culture in the United States, will be featured in the Western Illinois University Leslie F. Malpass Library Garden Lounge this month. Slated to run from Tuesday, Jan. 14-Friday, Jan. 24, the exhibit is open free to the public during regular Malpass Library hours.

On loan from the Jack G. Shaheen Archive at New York University, the exhibit displays images taken from movies, comic books and editorial cartoons which, when seen in close proximity to one another, demonstrate the dominant pattern of negative images that has prevailed in depictions of Arabs and Muslims in America. According to exhibit organizers, it challenges viewers to consider the impact of stereotypes on both individual perceptions and national policy.

From 3:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, the Islamic Center of Macomb will co-host a reception in the Garden Lounge and provide light refreshments. At 4 p.m. English and Journalism Professor Mohammad Siddiqi will provide a brief introduction to the exhibit. At 4:30 p.m., Siddiqi and Janice Welsch, WIU professor emerita and co-director of Western's Expanding Cultural Diversity Project, will moderate a discussion with Shaheen via Skype. (The Skype session will be held in Library Computer Classroom 2, or LCC2, located on the second level.)

The exhibit reflects the work of Shaheen, faculty emeritus of Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and a distinguished visiting scholar at New York University's Asian/Pacific/American Institute. Shaheen is the author of, "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People" and "Guilty: Hollywood's Verdict on Arabs After 9/11."

Read more about Shaheen and the Jack G. Shaheen Archive at New York University at

"A is for Arab" at Western is sponsored by WIU's Expanding Cultural Diversity Project, University Libraries, the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research and the Islamic Center of Macomb.

For more information, contact Janice R. Welsch at or Tammy Sayles, marketing and outreach librarian, at

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