Publication Date

2011

Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

John Ungerleider

Abstract

This paper is an examination of the power of art in building bridges between groups of people in conflict. Through two complementary case studies where theater and film are utilized as catalyst for dialogue, the paper highlights the impact of visual storytelling on the hearts and minds of participants entering the experience with certain prejudices towards and fear of the “other” group. In particular, it shows that complex visual stories and empathetic characters have the ability to increase understanding of other perspectives, transform perceptions, and even instill narratives that are contrary to the ones dominant within the given culture. Interviews with the individuals orchestrating the two initiatives, as well as testimonies from participants and facilitators show that when it comes to the negative imagery of Muslims in the U.S. and Palestinians in Israel, which is promoted through the mainstream media, art is in fact a very powerful antidote.

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities | Civic and Community Engagement | Inequality and Stratification | Peace and Conflict Studies | Theatre and Performance Studies