Wednesday, October 24, 2007

When Religion meets Music: Muslim Pop & Hassidic Reggae

This coming week we will be looking at Religion and Music, specifically how contemporary Jewish and Muslim artists are using music to communicate ideas about religious community and identity. This week's reading, "A New Research Agenda: Exploring Transglobal Hip Hop Umma" by H. Samy Alim, focuses on how popular music is being used to bring cohesion cohesion across cultures to Muslims around the world. We will be looking at artist such as Sami Yusuf and the Danish Band Outlandish and how they try to communicate issue of faith cross culturally through their music. We will also be looking at the music of Matisyahu and how he communicates Orthodox Judaism through Reggae. Check out the following videos:

Sami Yusuf, is a rising star of contemporary Arabic Nasheed (traditional) music. His song Hasbi Rabbi is sung in English, Hindi, Turkish & Arabic and the video takes him to different parts of the world to engage with the Muslim Ummah (community) in those places.

Outlandish, a Muslim Danish Trio mixes hip hop, folk, soul and pop to create music focusing on themes of racism, social justice and religion. as seen in their video " I Only Ask of God"

Matisyahu infusion of Reggae & Hip Hop seeks to communicate his Jewish faith to a global audience as well, check out his hit song "Jerusalem".

For more information on Contemporary Muslim & Jewish music check out Muslim Hip-Hop and Jews Rock.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Judaism and the Internet

This next week we will be looking at Judaism and the internet by specifically looking at a study by Barzilai-Nahon & Barzilai. Cultured Technology: Internet and Religious Fundamentalism explores UltraOrthodox use and response to the internet. Within Judaism their has been much discussion about the use and effect of the internet, such as Is the internet kosher? and How does it effect religious culture? What does this article have to say about how the UO have responded to this new technology? What is the basis or support for their response?

Some Jewish groups have responded to the concerns about the secular nature of the internet by forbidding its use, while other have cultured the technology to create safe online spaces such as Jgog search engine which uses a filtering mechanism so some "unorthodox" words or searches to be blocked or re-defined or Kosher net which "provides the ideal, rabbinically endorsed, internet experience for ... anyone who wants or needs control over exposure to undesirable content during the internet experience". What does this teach us about religious culturing of new media?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Islam and the Internet

In week seven we will be discussing Islamic use and perception of the Internet. Back in 2002 NPR did an interesting series where it explored the interspection between Islam, Faith and Technology and this provides a good introduction to how Islam has been presented online as well as how Muslim have enaged with internet technolgy.

As we have previously discussed, the internet has the potential to transform perceptions of religious authority online. This is especially true in relation to precept ions of who are the official interpreters of Islam in an age when the internet form the backbone of much popular religious discourse. This is an issue we will discuss in light of Anderson's article “The Internet and Islam’s New Interpreters”. We will also look at examples of how Islam has imported various religious rituals and practices online through Bunt's chapter "Rip, Burn & Pray: Islamic Expression Online". For more examples of the presence of Islam online check out Bunt's blog Virtually Islamic. While you read these article try to reflect on how the response to the Internet is similar and/or different to their response to other forms of media discussed in the class. What unique challenges and possibilities does the internet pose? How might the internet influence global perceptions of Islam?