A multitude of media formats are produced primarily for entertainment. Yet, much of such popular cultural production promotes particular worldviews, gender dynamics, political stances, consumerism patterns, and lifestyles. As Lila Abu-Lughod’s iconic study, Dramas of Nationhood, on Egyptian TV-Serials demonstrates, media producers may at times have strong ideological messages, which they wish to convey to their audiences through their media output. However, audience responses may not always match the intentions and anticipations of the authors. The worldviews and subjectivities of the individual media users, and the modes in which the engage with the medium, are equally important to analyze, in order to understand the complex responses of media audiences.

In this special issue of CyberOrient, we aim to bring together scholarly work on a range of Middle Eastern and Muslim cultural media products. The goal is to examine how gender roles are constructed, transmitted, and negotiated, and at times put forward as part of lifestyle or ideological choices. Simultaneously, we are interested in how such products are received, imagined, and consumed in the every day lives of audiences. This special issue focuses both on media and cultural production in the Middle East as well as products intended for consumption by Muslim and Middle Eastern diaspora. Examples of media products include TV-series, films, talk shows, music, games, comics, webpages, YouTube videos, blogs and vlogs. Guiding questions for the contributions include: To what extent are cultural media products embedded with an ideological agenda or a blueprint for ‘ideal’ gender relations? How do audiences respond to media products’ prescriptions on gender and/or lifestyle? In what ways does consumer culture play into the media products? We welcome submissions from across disciplines and methodological approaches that are empirically and theoretically grounded.

Articles should be submitted directly to Mona Abdel-Fadil (mona.abdel-fadil@media.uio.no) and Vit Sisler (vit.sisler@ff.cuni.cz). Articles should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words (including references), and follow the AAA style in referencing and citations. Upon acceptance, articles will be published online with free access in summer 2016.