In this study, we learn how audiences make sense of a non-dominant text that is conveying a non-Western story about the Global War on Terror (GWOT). The audiences affective narratives affirm Deuze’s argument that media is not separate from our lived experience; we live in media rather than with media. This study was conducted on an urban campus in the Pacific North-West, with film audiences of over fifty Saudi Arabian, Baharanian, Iranian, Iraqi, Yemeni, and other Arab and non-Arab Muslims. Multiple screenings of Hindi language film, My Name is Khan, shows that it speaks to a global, transcultural, primarily Muslim audience that has lived in the pall of a world changed by 9/11. As audiences, they weave an oppositional narrative of security, multiculturalism and Muslim identity. While their visas define them as students, their experience as simply Arab or Muslim women and men situates them, in a wider articulation of their transnational identity.
Key words: Media, audience, ethnography, qualitative research for media, Muslims, Islam, Indian cinema, transnational, Bollywood.
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