Middle East and Islamic Studies Program Presents
Arab Fandom and Creative Political Participation
The Case of Game of Thrones
by Katty Alhayek
The Arab Studies Institute, Global Affairs, and Schar School of Policy and Government
American shows like Game of Thrones (GoT) are quite popular among Arabic-speaking online communities. Prof. Katty Alhayek addressed her research on Arab fandom of American fantasy drama television and how fans’ cultural participation can contribute to our understating of non-traditional political participation. She discussed how Arab fans of GoT are part of the global fandom of “Prestige TV,” and demonstrated how Arab fans responded to the whiteness and Eurocentrism of GoT and their sense of racial difference. Prof. Alhayek showed that GoT Arab fandom continues through Facebook communities like “House of the Dragon Arab Fans,” which has over 158.3K members who share their excitement and expectations of the upcoming prequel, which is scheduled to air this year.
Dr. Katty Alhayek is an Assistant Professor in the School of Professional Communication at Ryerson University (renaming in process) in Toronto, Canada. Alhayek’s research centers around themes of marginality, media, audiences, gender, intersectionality, and displacement in a transnational context. Alhayek completed her Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the United States of America with a graduate certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies. Her publications include articles in the International Journal of Communication; Feminist Media Studies; Gender, Technology and Development; and Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies.