Popular culture serves as a fresh and revealing window on contemporary developments in the Muslim world because it is a site where many important and controversial issues are explored and debated. Aesthetic expression has become intertwined with politics and religion due to the uprisings of the “Arab Spring,” while, at the same time, Islamist authorities are showing increasingly accommodating and populist attitudes toward popular culture. Not simply a “westernizing” or “secularizing” force, as some have asserted, popular culture now plays a growing role in defining what it means to be Muslim.
With well-structured chapters that explain key concepts clearly, Islam and Popular Culture addresses new trends and developments that merge popular arts and Islam. Its eighteen case studies by eminent scholars cover a wide range of topics, such as lifestyle, dress, revolutionary street theater, graffiti, popular music, poetry, television drama, visual culture, and dance throughout the Muslim world from Indonesia, Africa, and the Middle East to Europe. The first comprehensive overview of this important subject, Islam and Popular Culture offers essential new ways of understanding the diverse religious discourses and pious ethics expressed in popular art productions, the cultural politics of states and movements, and the global flows of popular culture in the Muslim world.
KARIN VAN NIEUWKERK is an anthropologist and professor of contemporary Islam in Europe and the Middle East at the Radboud University Nijmegen.
MARK LEVINE is a professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the University of California, Irvine, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden.
MARTIN STOKES is King Edward Professor of Music at King’s College, London.
"Islam and Popular Culture is a work of serious intellectual rigor. It constitutes an unprecedented collection on Islam and popular culture that will be a historical landmark."
~Dr. Emmanuelle Olivier, Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS, Paris) and l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and author of Musiques au monde: La tradition au prisme de la creation and numerous works on m
"This is an essential collection on a topic that is grossly understudied and vastly misunderstood. I learned a great deal from it that I did not know, and much of what I learned was quite surprising and novel."
~Ted Swedenburg, Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies, University of Arkansas, and editor of Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture
Introduction: Islam and Popular Culture (Karin van Nieuwkerk, Mark LeVine, and Martin Stokes)
Part I. Popular Culture: Aesthetics, Sound, and Theatrical Performance in the Muslim World
Chapter 1. Listening Acts, Secular and Sacred: Sound Knowledge among Sufi Muslims in Secular France (Deborah Kapchan)
Chapter 2. Islamic Popular Music Aesthetics in Turkey (Martin Stokes)
Chapter 3. Theater of Immediacy: Performance Activism and Art in the Arab Uprisings (Mark LeVine and Bryan Reynolds )
Part II. Artistic Protest and the Arab Uprisings
Chapter 4. “Islam Is There to Make People Free”: Islamist Musical Narratives of Freedom and Democracy in the Moroccan Spring (Nina ter Laan)
Chapter 5. Visual Culture and the Amazigh Renaissance in North Africa and Its Diaspora (Cynthia Becker)
Chapter 6. Can Poetry Change the World? Reading Amal Dunqul in Egypt in 2011 (Samuli Schielke)
Part III. Islam: Religious Discourses and Pious Ethics
Chapter 7. The Sunni Discourse on Music (Jonas Otterbeck)
Chapter 8. Shica Discourses on Performing Arts: Maslaha and Cultural Politics in Lebanon (Joseph Alagha)
Chapter 9. Islam at the Art School: Religious Young Artists in Egypt (Jessica Winegar )
Chapter 10. Writing History through the Prism of Art: The Career of a Pious Cultural Producer in Egypt (Karin van Nieuwkerk)
Part IV. Cultural Politics and Body Politics
Chapter 11. Ambivalent Islam: Religion in Syrian Television Drama (Christa Salamandra)
Chapter 12. Discourses of Religiosity in Post-1997 Iranian Popular Music (Laudan Nooshin)
Chapter 13. Sacred or Dissident: Islam, Embodiment, and Subjectivity on Post-Revolutionary Iranian Theatrical Stage (Ida Meftahi)
Chapter 14. Public Pleasures: Negotiating Gender and Morality through Syrian Popular Dance (Shayna Silverstein)
Part V: Global Flows of Popular Culture in the Muslim World
Chapter 15. Performing Islam around the Indian Ocean Basin: Musical Ritual and Recreation in Indonesia and the Sultanate of Oman (Anne K. Rasmussen)
Chapter 16. Muslims, Music, and Tolerance in Egypt and Ghana: A Comparative Perspective on Difference (Michael Frishkopf)
Chapter 17. Music Festivals in Pakistan and England (Thomas Hodgson)
Chapter 18. Fleas in the Sheepskin: Glocalization and Cosmopolitanism in Moroccan Hip-Hop (Kendra Salois)
Notes on Contributors
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