‘Dalya’s Other Country’

Today we watched the documentary film Dayla’s Other Country in my ‘Religion in Documentary Film’ class. The story focuses on a Syrian-American teen who moved to the US during the war. During class, the film generated rich and unexpected discussion about:

  • refugees
  • cultural assimilation
  • gender roles and expectations
  • gender identities and parenting (gender fluid identities, transgender, intersex, etc. and how Muslim communities and faith engage with these realities)
  • gender and parenting (how gender shapes parenting styles)
  • hijab and body politics
  • the stigma of Muslim identity in the US (post-Trump America)
  • passing and covering (Goffman)
  • masculinity (and family politics)
  • masculinity and fatherhood (patriarchy, polygyny,
  • religious schools (she attends a Catholic school, mass, Scripture class, etc.) and questions of indoctrination
  • cultural socialization (how she would be a different person if she’d been raised in Syria)
  • the ethics of documentary film making (how it affects the people filmed)
  • intra-community and interpretive diversity
  • long-distance family relationships
  • and many more!
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