The Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal

A Premier Humanities Research Journal at the University of California, Berkeley

Subject to Sight: Visibility, Control, and the Arab American Body

Andrew Karim


The unveiling of Édouard Manet’s Olympia (1865) at the Salon of Paris was met with so much outrage that the gallery was forced to hire two policemen to prevent the painting from being vandalized.[1] The oil on canvas piece features a reclining nude woman gazing mysteriously at the viewer; a black cat sits perched on the edge of the bed as a maid presents the woman with a bouquet of flowers. Olympia was certainly not the first painting to feature a reclining nude woman, as the piece was preceded by a series of similar works, including Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus (1510), Titian’s Venus of Urbino (1538), and later, Francisco Goya’s La maja desnuda (1800). Since female nudity had therefore been a common feature in the works of Manet’s predecessors and contemporaries, the model’s mere nakedness could not have been the source of controversy around the painting. What, then, could have attracted such criticism and outrage toward this work?

The answer to this question is rooted in the model’s situation in society. There is something that distinguishes her from the goddess in Titian’s Venus of Urbino. Consider the off-handed manner in which she removes her slipper, the black ribbon around her neck that marks an obvious contrast with her pale skin, or most significantly, the fact that she is being presented with a bouquet of flowers, presumably a gift from her client. Finally, consider the fact that her name, Olympia, was common among the prostitutes of 1860s Paris.[2] One could read these details to conclude that unlike the models in similar paintings, that of Manet’s Olympia is in fact a prostitute. Art historians and critics have questioned Manet’s motive in his alternative take on painting a reclining woman, a classic move in the art scene at this time. Did Manet mean to produce serious work, or was Olympia meant to parody similar paintings that preceded it? Though Manet’s motives are unknown, my concern is not why he chose to portray a prostitute, but how.

In other words, how does the viewer come to perceive the model as a prostitute in Manet’s Olympia? Though a simple reading would allow one to draw conclusions from the aforementioned details (the black ribbon around the model’s neck, the maid presenting her with a bouquet of flowers, and so on), Michel Foucault turns to luminosity to discuss the “moral scandal” surrounding the painting.[3] More specifically, Foucualt likens light to the viewer’s gaze, positing it as a “lantern.”[4] He suggests the model is perceived as nude only because the viewer renders her as such. In other words, she becomes illuminated upon being looked at. Foucault finds significance in the lighting cast upon the model; he mentions that it is not a soft light that simply accentuates her delicate features, but a violent one that strikes her entire body, causing her to be wholly visible to the viewer. For Foucault, the viewer is not a mere bystander in the model’s presentation as nude, but rather complicit in her nudity to the extent of being solely responsible for it. Of course, Foucault does not mean to say that the viewer himself painted the model as nude, but that his gaze identifies her as such and classifies her as morally unsound as a result.[5]

Though Foucault is writing here on art, I understand his theoretical scaffolding to be acutely similar to that with which he theorizes human subjectivity. Just as demonstrated with the reclining model in Manet’s Olympia, Foucault also begins with visibility to theorize human subjectivity. Visibility allows Foucault to trace the formative steps that create human subjects in society, as it is only after one becomes visible that he can be considered a subject. I would like to use this understanding of human subjectivity to discuss the ethnic subject. Using Foucault’s narrative of visibility, this essay will examine the contemporary Arab American subject while paying specific attention to his progression from an identified national threat to a nation-building instrument.

I will begin by locating 9/11 as a pivotal moment in which the Arab American was ushered to center-stage in Western political consciousness; spoken with the vocabulary of Foucault’s writing on Olympia, this event will mark the shedding of light upon the Arab American. By engaging with Foucault’s work on madness, I will then posit the Arab American subject as mad. This will allow me to draw parallels between how one’s becoming a subject recalls Foucault’s account of how the madman became identified and separated—both symbolically and physically—from the rest of human society. Finally, I will consider a recent Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) commercial implicitly aimed at recruiting Arab Americans. In this return to a form of media, albeit one that differs drastically from that of Manet’s Olympia, I will study what happens to the Arab American after he has been identified as such, and suggest that this identity is not static, but highly transformable. While it may seem as though I move away from Olympia, my argument regarding the Arab American subject remains anchored in Foucault’s critique of Manet’s painting. To isolate Foucault’s engagement with Olympia as a mere critique of the piece itself would be to dismiss the potentiality for his theorization of visibility to hold political currency in the social. For this reason, I want to note that that my argument does not abandon Foucault’s original critique of Olympia, but rather employs its logic to interrogate a different object of study.

The Making of the Arab American Subject

What does it mean for a minority to become minoritized? For the ethnic subject, minoritization is the process by which he becomes exposed to identification, classification, and control by simple virtue of being a minority. Minoritization does not simply require that the minority be made visible, but that he be made intelligible. In other words, the minority must become legible by performing the social, affective, and political script that his identity mandates. Following this logic, one’s subjectivity as an ethnic subject is not constructed solely by his physical appearance, but also the conditions that materialize as a result of this appearance. The Arab American, for example, is not socially legible as such by simply looking Arab. Instead, he must supplement his appearance with features that sanction his social legibility; examples of this include speaking Arabic, having ‘radical’ political leanings, or practicing Islam.

I would like to explain how the Arab American differs from the Arab subject, or even the more general (post)colonial subject. Both of these bodies have been recognizable from pre-colonial times to the present, but they differ from the Arab American. Further, even Arabs who have lived in the United States are not necessarily included in the Arab American category. Though Arabs have lived in the United States since the mid-19th century, U.S. residence or citizenship alone does not automatically constitute what I am referring to as the Arab American, which, on the other hand, is only a recently established identity category.

The United States government loosened restrictions on Arab immigration in 1965.[6] This change resulted in thousands of Arab families immigrating to the United States; most came from the Levant region seeking employment or asylum from violence in their home countries.[7][8] Unlike the immigrants who settled in the United States in the early 1800s, many of these Arabs were educated and able to contribute to the American workforce. Still, most of them worked in the labor industry, predominantly on the factory floors of urban areas. My argument concerns their children, who have come to be known as first-generation Arab Americans.

Unlike their parents, these subjects were born and raised in the United States. Their cultural situation as Americans is established not only by simply holding American citizenship, but also by growing up around and contributing to the political, affective, and cultural infrastructure of American society. This generation did not simply assimilate into an already-established American culture, but rather took part in defining it. The Arab American body is raised in part by his immigrant parents at home, but also by the American culture he continually engages with in the social. For the first time, the Arab American subject was not a mere minority with no means of engaging with dominant culture, but rather a body with the capacity to interact with and impact it. In other words, this kind of Arab American had his own voice, albeit a minority one, that granted him the capability to take part in popular cultural dialogue.

My aim in this section is to explore what shifted in our understanding of the Arab American figure after 9/11. Much has been written about how the United States has dealt with the aftermath of 9/11, a large majority of which addressed issues of foreign policy, national security, local politics, popular culture, and education. My argument differs insofar as it is not as concerned with the broader notion of how the United States has coped with the attacks of 9/11, but rather, what its coping came to mean for the Arab American subject. On the other hand, this essay could be read to be just as much about the American as it is about the Arab American. Though my argument seems specific to the Arab American body, I am in fact examining the change in how he came to be perceived by those comprising dominant culture. In this sense, my project could be rearticulated as one that examines how the American came to perceive the Arab American, for what would a study of perception be without taking into account both the perceiver and the perceived?

Many of the stereotypes associated with the Arab American subject were present before 9/11. It was not until 9/11, however, that his position as a subject crystalized. That is, these stereotypes, associations, and formations of identity materialized in such a manner that they not only became blunt and unapologetic, but also normalized, and perhaps even politically sound. Like never before, Arab Americans became subject to random security checks at airports, government-sponsored wiretaps, and stark racial profiling. The events of September 11th were certainly not the first terrorist attacks targeting Americans; those preceding it include the 1983 Hezbollah bombing of the American marine barracks in Beirut and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which killed 241 and 6 Americans, respectively. If social stigmas against Arab Americans had become less hostile in the preceding years, it was 9/11—the attack that caused more damage and took more lives than any prior terrorist attack on American soil—that reignited them with a new intensity.

Let us return to Manet’s Olympia. The painting’s reclining model was always a prostitute, but it was the viewer’s gaze and the violent light that it embodied that transformed her simply being a prostitute into a scandalous event. In the same way, 9/11 acted as a luminous source that shone upon the Arab American subject, bringing him to light like never before. The attacks of September 11th were a medium through which the Arab American would be made visible and understood differently. The possibility of the Arab American inhabiting the position of an acceptable ethnic subject weakened after this critical event in his history. Even from his minority position as non-White, the Arab American was further distanced from being considered as a non-threatening body in American society.

Visibility played a formative role in founding the Arab American’s new situation in the post-9/11 socio-political landscape. This is not to say that he was not always visible, but rather that he became visible in an entirely different way as a result of this moment. This new visibility was not simply symbolic, but one that would soon produce tangible effects in the social. The Arab American suddenly became a dangerous body who was subject to the effects of his own visibility, a target prone to being identified and controlled by the very institutions that define him.

The Mad Arab

In Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, Foucault examined what it means to be considered mad. Foucault’s survey of madness in the West from 1500 to 1800 allowed him to comprehensively trace the gradual shift in society’s perception of the madman. Madness and Civilization was Foucault’s first major published work, and considering his formal training in psychiatry, the book may tend to read as a highly technical historical text, perhaps to the extent that it would seem to have been intended for an audience specific to the field of psychiatry.[9] Still, while Foucault’s writing is quite technical with respect to the history of psychiatry as an institution, his argument is very much a humanistic one. For this reason, Madness and Civilization can be epistemologized in a manner that shifts from the rigid context of madness and insanity. This would allow the text to be used as a toolkit with which one can discuss virtually any minority body, be it the madman, the woman, the homosexual, or the ethnic minority. Just as feminist and queer theory have turned to Madness and Civilization, I will use the text to imagine the Arab American subject as mad.

Foucault acknowledges that the figure of the madman has always been present in Western literature, from Biblical texts to Shakespeare’s plays. Madness began, Foucault notes, as an “undifferentiated experience, a not yet divided experience of division itself.”[10] Madness is posited here as an event that has not yet been mediated by language or reason. As time has progressed, however, the madman became portrayed and treated differently, and Foucault tracks this change beginning with the classical period. Foucault believes that the notion of madness as an “undifferentiated experience” has been lost in reason’s attempt to confine it, and suggests that in order to understand this confinement, we must locate, excavate, and describe this moment that rendered madness as it is currently understood (or rather, misunderstood).[11] In other words, Foucault wishes to describe the moment that demarcated madness from reason.

Foucault comes to terms with the radicality of his project by designating it as one that explores an “uncomfortable region.”[12] When Foucault wrote Madness and Civilization, the concept of madness had long been decided upon, and he even notes that the discourse on madness was considered a terminal truth. That is, the legitimacy of the established body of knowledge addressing madness was by no means up for debate.[13] For this reason, Foucault urges us to dismiss the “convenience” of these truths and to never unquestionably submit to what has been established as absolute knowledge regarding madness.[14] Instead, Foucault wishes that we interrogate this predetermined understanding of knowledge, as it is through this interrogation that we can locate, at the very least, a potentiality for new understandings. Even if this interrogation fails to produce a radical corrective through which madness can be understood differently, it would allow us to consider the knowledge attending to madness not as a fixed, one-dimensional singularity, but a multiplicity.

Foucault’s argument here can be used to discuss what has happened to the contemporary Arab American body, but only in the strict sense of how he is regarded in official government policy. In other words, though the Arab American has been a target of suspicion, fear mongering, and racism in the United States, his formal position as defined by the government continues to posit him as equal to any other American citizen, disregarding race. Through the perpetual circulation of a politically correct ‘post-race’ or ‘color-bind’ rhetoric that permeates American cultural consciousness, the Arab American has been painted up to occupy the ostensible position of a fairly treated, integrated, and content national subject. The potency of Foucault’s argument was contingent upon his ability to reject the official, predetermined, and normalizing conceptions of the madman, and in the same way, my argument will reexamine the ostensible place the Arab American inhabits as established in service to liberalism and political correctness.

By engaging in such a comprehensive historical survey, Foucault charts the cultural developments that would result in what he refers to as “that other form of madness, by which men, in an act of sovereign reason, confine their neighbors.”[15] This claim is relevant to my argument insofar as it serves to define the players that will come to act upon one another; here, the madman and his neighbor represent the Arab American and the United States government, respectively.

The notion of quarantine, or what Madness and Civilization refers to as confinement, is central to Foucault’s project.[16] Throughout the text, Foucault explains how the shift in society’s perception of the madman was initiated by his confinement. Further, Foucault suggests a stark difference in how the madman was identified within and without confinement.[17] The madman came to be perceived as a dangerous threat to society only after he became confined in institutional spaces of asylum. The perception of the madman as dangerous occurred in part because madness acted as a kind of stand-in for leprosy, the previous health condition that caused any infected body to be separated from the rest of society. After this separation, science and medicine took on the role of elaborating this distinction between the mad and the sane; they provided a means for not only the identification, but also the classification and resulting maintenance of the mad. This analysis marks one of the first examples where Foucault discusses the relationship between knowledge and power. His argument can be read to assert that the role of political and economic developments in society eventually helped in identify, organize, and control the relationship between people, power, and knowledge.

What marked a shift in the madman’s mobility—from the ability to roam freely to harsh confinement—was not a singular incident, but a gradual passage of time that eventually led to changes in social, technological, political, and economic components of society. With time, society’s vision of the mad changed. The mad were no longer harmless enough to be allowed to roam freely, but dangerous and requiring confinement and controlled separation from the rest of society. Suddenly, the mad became visible, and this kind of visibility rendered them subject to being treated differently by the dominant order. For the Arab American, on the other hand, the event that marked the shift in how others perceived him was singular; in fact, it occurred in the span of a few hours. After 9/11, the Arab American, like the madman, became visible in a completely new light.


“We Are the CIA”: Correcting the Arab American

I now want to discuss the aftermath of the Arab American’s new visibility by examining what happened to this race-marked, minoritized, and threatening body not only after he had been newly identified as such, but after this identification had been given time to materialize in the social. I will do this by focusing on the example of a recent CIA recruitment commercial targeting Arab Americans.[18]

This commercial begins with a blank screen and the bare strumming of an oud, a traditional string instrument popular in the Mediterranean and Levant regions of the Middle East where most Arab Americans trace ancestral roots. A dark-haired, olive-skinned woman comes to light with her title, ENGINEER, at the bottom right corner of the screen. “I protect America,” she says.[19] The following woman has similar physical features, but wears a white lab coat and speaks with a heavy Arab accent. As she examines test tubes, her title, SCIENTIST, appears at the bottom of the screen. “I support global intelligence,” she says.[20] The commercial continues as such, with an Arab male economist saying “I analyze mission-critical information,” and a female lawyer saying, “I inform policy makers.”[21] A final bearded man given the title PHD, declares, “We are the CIA,” which is echoed by the engineer, the scientist, the lawyer, and once more, this time with more certitude, by the male economist.[22] The commercial ends with the slogan, “many careers, countless ways to serve your nation,” and finally, the glowing image of a large CIA crest.[23]

Though it is never explicitly stated, the actors in the commercial, with their thick Arab accents, olive skin, and dark features (not to mention, the cliché Middle Eastern music playing in the background), portray stereotypical Arab American citizens. What is most interesting about this commercial, though, is not the fact that it obviously targets Arab Americans, but the way in which it maneuvers describing itself as such. YouTube requires uploaded videos to include an informative description. The description for this video, however, was simplistic and vague: “Commercial for careers at CIA highlighting importance of diversity.”[24] Why would the description of a commercial evidently targeting Arab Americans employ such ambiguous language? If the commercial truly intended to highlight the importance of diversity—all diversity—why were the agents played solely by Arab American actors?

This advertisement is not the first to portray a minoritized ethnic subject in a subservient position to the nation-state. On June 25, 1955, the weekly French lifestyle magazine Paris Match released an issue with a young black boy on the cover. The boy is dressed in a French military uniform, and with eyes lifted, he salutes an unseen object. Roland Barthes explained what he found this image to signify:

 All this is the meaning of the picture. But, whether naïvely or not, I see very well what it signifies to me: that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any color discrimination, faithfully serve under the flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal shown by this Negro in serving his so-called oppressors. I am therefore again faced with a greater sociological system: there is a signifier, itself already formed with a precious system (a black soldier is giving the French salute); there is a signified (it is here a purposeful mixture of Frenchness and militariness); finally, there is a presence of the signified through the signifier.[25]

For Barthes, the image of this saluting black youth suggests something far more than a mere visual gesture of nationalism. The image is meant to affirm patriotism and allegiance to the French nation-state on behalf of the minoritized, colonial, and oppressed Afro-French subject. Barthes writes that for every image, there exist two points of view: that of the first term, which bases its meaning in the “mythical system,” and that of the final term, which sources its meaning in what he calls the “linguistic system.”[26] The first term derives meaning at face value. According to Barthes, however, this meaning is superficial; it is offered up to the viewer with no ambiguity and is meant to be understood without question in its original materialization.[27] The final term, on the other hand, is that whose meaning must be extracted from the image.[28]

Barthes notes, “Since myth is a type of speech, everything can be a myth provided it is conveyed by a discourse.”[29] Though Barthes’ object of study is the boy soldier on the magazine cover, his theory need not be limited strictly to images, but could be used to critically examine any cultural text, be it written, photographed, filmed, or performed live. Barthes mentions the importance of the medium through which the myth is presented, nothing that “myth is not defined by the object of its message, but by the way in which it utters this message.”[30] For Barthes, meaning is derived not only from the text itself, but also the way in which it is presented. With respect to the Paris Match cover, the message itself is exactly what its creator intended for it to be, which is, again, “that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any color discrimination, faithfully serve under the flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal shown by this Negro in serving his so-called oppressors.”[31]

Writing as a semiologist, Barthes notes, “any semiology postulates a relation between two terms, a signifier and a signified, with the former acting as a vessel for the latter. This distinction between the two terms provides another way to understand Barthes’ theory of perception.[32] His notion of designating certain images’ intended meanings is rooted in the signifier and the signified, or the form and meaning of the image. When these two intermingle, they complement one another to form what Barthes refers to as a “mode of signification,” which is the mechanism through which the mythical implications of an image are conveyed.[33]

Barthes asks the reader to consider his idea by drawing on the example of roses he uses to signify his passion. Here, the roses are the signifier and passion is that which is signified.[34] Before coming together in this very specific context, each of these entities existed separately; it was only after Barthes brought them together that the rose was able to signify his passion. Still, these two are not the only items that make up Barthes’ system of signification. He notes that when the roses come to signify his passion, they allow themselves to be perceived as more than roses of passion, but roses as passion. Barthes writes, “the former and the latter existed before uniting and forming the third object, which is the sign.”[35]

For Barthes, the system of signification consists of three parts: the signifier, the signified, and the sign, which constitutes the merging of the former two. Without meaning imposed upon it, the rose would still be the rose: a plant, a flower, an object void of further meaning. However, it is the mode through which the object is presented that sanctions its capacity to produce signified meaning. After this object is contextualized as a producer of signified meaning, it transforms into a signifier. Barthes suggests the pebble as another example, noting that it can be signified in various ways.[36] Before it becomes signified, however, it remains a medium, a mere potentiality for signification. It is only after one attaches this pebble to a “definite signified”—Barthes provides the example of a death sentence, but this “definite signified” could be virtually any object—that it transforms into the third and final part of this semiotic equation: the sign.[37]

Drawing from Barthes’ critique of the Paris Match cover, I would like to make a similar claim about the earlier mentioned CIA recruitment commercial featuring Arab Americans. What if we were to apply Barthes’ logic to this commercial? What sort of message is it truly attempting to convey? How is this message being conveyed? And finally, from where can we derive its meaning? At face value, the Arab Americans in this commercial are not simply proud soldiers serving their country. More than that, though, by making declarations such as “We are the CIA” and “I support global intelligence,” these subjects are also affirming government policies that could ultimately harm them.[38] Are these Arab Americans relaying genuine sentiments of patriotism, or is there something more complicated at work here?

The actors in this commercial comprise a signifier that is meant to denote their allegiance to the nation-state, compliance with its intelligence operations, and appreciation of its proper treatment of Arab American minorities. The commercial intends to convey a simple message: the CIA’s inclusive recruitment policy embraces diversity to the extent of hiring Arab Americans, the very subjects who were targets of widespread hate crimes, fear mongering, and racism only ten years earlier, and still today.[39] There is no resistance among these Arab Americans, as they do not question the motives behind their recruitment or the nation-state’s oppressive policies toward them. Among these subjects, there is only compliance—no, affirmation, praise, encouragement—with any and every policy the United States government implements.

When examined closely, one can conclude that the signified message of this commercial is radically different from that which it intends to convey. In producing this commercial, the United States government is by no means coming to terms with its treatment of Arab Americans, but rather concealing it with images of eager, patriotic, and cooperative subjects—the very subjects it constantly oppresses. In a single move, this commercial attempts to transform the Arab American’s position within the national political consciousness from that of a dangerous, terrorist minority subject into that of a tool that can be strategically used toward the building up of national security interests. Here, the signifier is meant to portray the patriotic, nation-serving Arab American, but when further scrutinized, this body is being manipulated, silenced, and painted up as a loyal patriot.


Conclusion: Consenting to Subjecthood

Foucault’s theorization of pastoral power situates the ruling body in a distinct form of dominance with respect to his subordinate subjects. Foucault refers to the pastoral shepherd, a common figure in Judeo-Christian texts, to illustrate this relationship. Unlike traditional models of hierarchical power relations, the shepherd serves his flock as a gatherer, guide, and leader.[40] The shepherd is not a strict disciplinarian who imposes his dominance upon his weaker subjects, but rather a protective, even loving figure whose role is to look after his flock instead of simply ruling over them. Though the shepherd is always there for his flock when they are in need, Foucault argues that he must disappear in order for the flock to scatter, and it is only after this happens that he can return to collect and organize them.[41] Further, Foucault notes that the shepherd’s job is ultimately to “ensure the salvation of his flock,” which he accomplishes not by exerting oppressive force upon them, but by maintaining a “constant, individualized, and final kindness.”[42]

Foucault’s model allows for an alternative understanding of the ruler and the ruled that does not predicate their relationship on harsh, top-down disciplinarian linkages of power, but those of care, safekeeping, supervision, and even love. What if we were to apply this logic to the United States and the Arab American subject?

If the United States were to be posited as the shepherd and the Arab American subject as a sheep in his flock, their relationship could be understood as one where the United States’ treatment of the Arab American is not necessarily oppressive or harmful, but caring and protective. When this relationship is painted up as such, one could conclude that the Arab American subject should not be automatically understood as the eternal victim of inevitable power structures that force him into subjectivity. Instead, Foucault’s theorization of power allows us to think of the Arab American as complicit with the forces that oppress him. Working through Gramsci’s claim that the population’s consent facilitates the success of cultural hegemony, I want to suggest that this new, nationalistic, state-building Arab American body has not necessarily been violently molded by a dominant order with which he does not actively negotiate.[43] In fact, my argument is exactly the opposite: when the Arab American becomes visible and subject to a certain performance of his place as an Arab American, the resulting manifestation of his identity is one that he may have negotiated for himself. When the Arab Americans in the CIA recruitment commercial declare their support for global intelligence, this need not be read as a claim they are being forced to make, but a stance they freely choose to align with. After all, to assume that these subjects always helplessly act as the dominant order dictates would be to strip them of not only their agency for resistance, but more significantly, their agency for consent.

Works Cited

Clark, T. J. The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1999. Print.

“The Shock of the Nude: Manet’s Olympia.” Culture Shock: The TV Series & Beyond. Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 16 Dec 2012.

Foucault, Michel. Manet and the Object of Painting. London: Tate, 2011. Print.

—Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. New York: Vintage, 1988. Print.

—“Omnes Et Singulatim: Towards a Critique of Political Reason.” Power, Essential Works of Foucault, (1954-1984). New York: The New Press, 2001. 298-325. Print.

Orfalea, Gregory. The Arab Americans: A History. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch, 2006. Print.

“Ancestry of Arab Americans by Primary Identification.” Arab American Institute Foundation. Web. 19 Dec 2012. <>.

“CIA Careers Advertisement.” Advertisement. YouTube. Central Intelligence Agency, San Bruno, California, 3 Feb. 2011. Television.

Barthes, Roland, Evans Jessica, and Stuart Hall. “Myth Today.” Visual Culture: The Reader. London: SAGE, 1999. 51-58. Print.

Gramsci, Antonio, and David Forgacs. The Gramsci Reader: Selected Writings, 1916-1935. New York: New York UP, 2000. Print.

[1] “The Shock of the Nude: Manet’s Olympia.” Culture Shock: The TV Series & Beyond. Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 16 Dec 2012.

[2] Clark, T. J. The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1999. Print. 86.

[3] Foucault, Michel. Manet and the Object of Painting. London: Tate, 2011. Print. 66.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Orfalea, Gregory. The Arab Americans: A History. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch, 2006. Print. 189.

[7] The Levant region includes Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Southern Turkey, Cyprus, parts of northern Iraq and the Sinai Peninsula.

[8] Most immigrants during this time were from the Levant region of the Middle East were Christians fleeing religious conflict, namely the Maronite Catholics of Lebanon and the Coptic Orthodox Christians of Egypt. According to a 2002 survey by Zogby International, 63% of Arab Americans are Christian, while 24% are Muslim. This statistic runs contrary to common belief that all Arabs Americans are Muslim. (See: “Ancestry of Arab Americans by Primary Identification.”)

[9] Madness and Civilization was first published as an abridged edition of Foucault’s 1961 text, Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique. It was not until 2006 that a complete English edition of this text was published under the title History of Madness.

[10] Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. New York: Vintage, 1988. Print. ix.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Foucault, Madness and Civilization, 39.

[17] Ibid.

[18] The ad originally aired on local television channels in February 2011, a little over ten years following the events of 9/11. Currently, it can only be publicly accessed on the Central Intelligence Agency’s YouTube channel, “ciagov.”

[19] “CIA Careers Advertisement.” Advertisement. Central Intelligence Agency. YouTube. San Bruno, California, 3 Feb. 2011. Television. 00:04.

[20] Ibid., 00:09.

[21] Ibid., 00:12, 00:16.

[22] Ibid., 00:22 – 00:30.

[23] Ibid., 00:32.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Barthes, Roland, Evans Jessica, and Stuart Hall. “Myth Today.” Visual Culture: The Reader. London: SAGE, 1999. Print. 54.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid., 57.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid., 54.

[32] Ibid., 53.

[33] Ibid., 51.

[34] Ibid., 52.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] “CIA Careers Advertisement.” 00:04, 00:32

[39] Ibid.

[40] Foucault, Michel, “Omnes Et Singulatim: Towards a Critique of Political Reason.” Power, Essential Works of Foucault, (1954-1984). New York: The New Press, 2001. 298-325. Print.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Gramsci, Antonio, and David Forgacs. The Gramsci Reader: Selected Writings, 1916-1935. New York: New York UP, 2000. Print. 75.