Mehal’s PhD research focused on the representation of Arab men in Australian film and television programs, and sought to understand how recent representations, even those thought to be ‘progressive’, were still heavily situated in a traditionally orientalist narrative.
Mehal is currently working with the International Research Centre for Youth Futures where she will explore the representation of young people in Western Sydney, and their engagement and participation with Centre programs.
Mehal is currently co-editor of an online magazine, Sajjeling, dedicated to recording the Arab Australian narrative and a member of the Australian Arab Film Festival committee.
Mehal's research interests lie in
- popular culture
- identity politics - cultural, religious and gender based
- representation politics
Mehal teaches in the social and political sciences and across various Communications streams.
Betts, J & Krayem, M 2019, 'Strategic Othering: Framing Lebanese Migration and Fraser's “Mistake”', Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 100-114.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2019 The University of Queensland and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd. Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, has framed the mid-1970s immigration of Lebanese affected by civil war as Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser's “mistake”. His remarks sparked controversy in the parliament and the media. The issue became a contest of frames between the Murdoch media, which supported the Minister's “mistake” frame and argued his right to “tell the truth”, and the Fairfax media, which viewed the Minister as being “racist” for “scapegoating” the Lebanese community. Along with archival documents, this article examines the context and coverage of the Minister's remarks, noting that the frames presented in the media “indexed” those adopted amongst political elites, while failing to re-examine the historical record. This case study demonstrates the power of framing and the media's tendency to accept rather than challenge frames used by those in the political contest, with the result that errors in the representation of history were never corrected. This article draws on framing theory and indexing theory and concludes that the “mistake” frame for the Lebanese feeds into narratives that serve to “other” Muslim and Arab groups, fanning fears and mobilising a discourse of Islamophobia around the exclusion of “undesirable” immigrants on the basis of “cultural fit”.