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University of Iowa News Release


June 4, 2007

Summer Institute For Teachers Examines Terrorism And The Media June 11-15

In August 2006, conservative political commentator Debbie Schlussel labeled Fordson High School in Dearborn, Mich., "Hezbollah High," suggesting that its largely Arab American student population might be viewed as terrorists because of their ethnic affiliation with the Lebanese political party then exchanging missiles with the Israeli army.

Schlussel's remarks were only one minor media event in a series of discussions and conflicts about the legitimate or responsible use of the word "terrorist" in recent history. However, her comments and the ensuing media coverage emphasized the need for teachers to confront the discourse surrounding the U.S. government's declared "war on terrorism."

This year's University of Iowa International Programs' Summer Institute for Teachers is a workshop for middle and high school educators with an overview of issues related to terrorism and mass media. During the workshop, which takes place Monday, June 11 through Friday, June 15, teachers will examine representations of terrorism in a broad range of media including broadcast journalism, popular cinema, literature, video games, Internet sites and comics. UI International Programs and the Center for Credit Programs support the course.

The course will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions of about three hours each. The sessions will include a panel of local journalists from the Daily Iowan, the Iowa City Press-Citizen and the Cedar Rapids Gazette. The group of teachers will also travel to Cedar Rapids, where they will visit KCRG studios, an ABC affiliate, to meet with the editorial staff.

"The subject matter will be difficult, and some of it will be painful to talk about, but it is now necessary to consider how terrorism has invaded every level of our lives, including the popular media that we, and especially our students, consume even when we are seeking escape from the depressing daily news," said Corey Creekmur, 2007 summer institute instructor. "For most of us terrorism is always mediated, only experienced through the TV, newspaper or Internet. The real focus of the workshop is not on terrorism, but on that work of mediation. That's why we're talking to newspaper and television reporters. We're not asking them what they think about terrorism, but instead we're seeking to understand what gets labeled and reported to us as terrorism, and who gets identified as a terrorist."

Creekmur is an associate professor in the departments of English and cinema and comparative literature, as well as director of the Institute for Cinema and Culture in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Creekmur's research and teaching interests include American literature and film, and he has specific interests in 20th century literature, crime and detective fiction, African American popular culture, film genres and popular music. He is also interested in Indian, especially Hindi, cinema.

"This is a way for us to share our expertise with educators in the state of Iowa and provide a venue for them to discuss current and contemporary issues related to international education and curriculum," said Buffy Quintero, International Programs outreach coordinator.

The workshop is open to 20 sixth- through 12th-grade teachers. Educators interested in enrolling should contact Buffy Quintero at or call 318-335-0345. The cost to attend is $1,047 for graduate credit and $672 for undergraduate credit. Tuition grants are available.

The workshop is offered through the Center for Credit Programs and can be taken for three semester hours of either graduate or undergraduate credit. Teachers can register by contacting the Center for Credit Programs at 319-335-2575 or 1-800-272-6430 or by e-mail at

University of Iowa International Programs enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Kelli Andresen, 319-335-2026,; Program: Buffy Quintero, International Programs Outreach Coordinator, 319-335-0345,