Theatre Ph.D. Dissertations


The Misrepresentation of Arab Gulf Men Through Costumes on Stage and Screen

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Theatre and Film

First Advisor

Michael Ellison (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Robert Satterlee (Other)

Third Advisor

Jonathan Chambers (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Margaret McCubbin (Committee Member)


The study focuses on the visual appearance of Arab characters (costumes) which have been misrepresented in some of the United States’ productions. The Arab characters' costumes have not previously been sufficiently addressed. I argue that while a costume is often assumed to reflect the character’s political, economic, religious, or cultural circumstances (problematic issues) between the United States and Arabs, that reflection may be far from accurate or appropriate.

In order to check the accuracy of the Arab costumes in the United States’ productions, and since there is a shortage of resources specialized in Arab costumes, a precise catalog specializing in Arab clothing was created to compare them with costumes in the United States’ productions. Furthermore, productions in Egypt (an Arab country that shares most backgrounds with the rest of Arab countries) have been added to the study to examine whether the problem of misrepresenting Arab characters' costumes exists in the Egyptian productions, or if it is specific to the United States.

By examining the United States' and Egypt's productions, I have concluded that productions in both countries misrepresent Arab characters' costumes in an unwitting way that indicates a lack of knowledge of the clothes of the Arab Gulf countries. Therefore, the precise catalog of the Arab Gulf men’s clothing that has been established in this study is a solution for the problem and fills the shortage of books and references specializing in Arab costumes.