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Abstract

This article presents the Swiss-Iraqi director Samir Jamal Aldin and his thriller Baghdad in My Shadow (2019) and puts it into a context of the re-negotiation of identities in a culturally diverse Europe. The director’s intention is presented as a wish to deal with taboo issues related to gay rights, women’s emancipation, and religious fundamentalism within an Iraqi community in contemporary London.

The film is analysed with the help of (1) theories analysing tensions between liberal-secular and religious-fundamentalist standpoints, and (2) theories about film viewers’ engagement, amplifying audiences’ emotions and thoughts about complex societal issues.

The film could be said to advocate a standpoint of dynamic secularism promoting individual rights. The article argues, furthermore, that Samir as a Swiss-Iraqi filmmaker encourages thick viewing through his thriller format and invites the audience to a deeper emotional and intellectual understanding of liberal principles, honour culture, and hybrid identity positions in contemporary Europe.

Open Access
In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture

Abstract

The fire that destroyed a large part of the world-famous Notre Dame Cathedral in France in April 2019 shocked the world. A lively expression of thoughts and feelings during and after the fire arose on Twitter. In this article, we will analyze the discourses about the Notre Dame fire on Twitter, with a specific focus on emoji, focusing on the thoughts and feelings emoji express and how they convey the meanings religious buildings have for people. Based on a dataset of almost 2 million tweets collected in the week following the incident, this paper leverages a variety of computational and qualitative methods to explore the topic from different angles. Temporal analysis and topic modelling show the dynamics of emoji usage, which drastically changes after a few days from expressing sorrow to expressing skepticism. Semantic analysis using the word2vec model reveals the implicit meaning of potentially ambiguous emoji characters.

In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture