In a world that is constantly changing and becoming more open to diversity and equality, filmmakers are faced with the challenge of presenting films and characters that embrace the ever-evolving world around us. In particular, Disney has been presented with this challenge; as a cinema powerhouse with an audience primarily made up of children, there is a perception that Disney has a moral responsibility to present accurate and unbiased representations of all cultures. This paper will analyze how Disney musically represents the Middle East in two Disney feature films, Aladdin and Prince of Persia, and how the musical choices affect American perception of Middle Eastern culture and music. Furthermore, the paper will look at how the representation changes between Aladdin, which was presented as an animated musical, and Prince of Persia, which was presented as a cinematic action film. Finally, this paper will look at the representation of the Middle East prior to the events of 9/11, as seen in the 1992 film Aladdin, and after the events of 9/11, as seen in the 2010 film Prince of Persia, and how the political environment of the time affected the representation of Middle Eastern music and culture.
Schildbach, Laura, "Sensuality, Camels, and Islam: Disney Music and American Perception of the Middle Eastern Experience" (2014). Student Research Day Abstracts and Posters. 20.