Event Title

Sonic Jihad: Muslim Hip Hop in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Streaming Media

Description

This presentation examines the intersection of prisons, Islam, and hip hop culture to understand a unique species of legal criticism. For Muslims in America, hip hop culture has functioned as a megaphone for rhetorical resistance that offers “new terrain” for understanding the law. More specifically, among the troubles that have afflicted the hip hop generation, perhaps none is as traumatic as losing friends, family, and loved ones to the proverbial belly of the beast. As the phrase “down by law” indicates, critique of the law has been etched in hip hop culture from the earliest days, which has invariably involved blasting prisons. The more extreme expressions redefine fantasy fiction through apocalyptic visions of revolution and revenge, with prisons representing an extension of the slave system that first brought African Muslims to America as chattel. This talk focuses on this discursive war and challenges the notion that the most radical voices in Muslim America are to be found in mosques or other Muslim gatherings. Such a position must contend with a sonic jihad in hip hop whose war rhetoric rivals that of any jihadist organization.

About the Lecturer:

SpearIt is an Associate Professor of Law at Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University, where he teaches Criminal Law, Evidence, Professional Responsibility, and Criminal Procedure. SpearIt has extensive teaching experience and in addition to teaching law, he has taught undergraduate courses as well as taught inmates at San Quentin State Prison. His research concentrates on criminal justice, and most recently his work appears in the Chicago-Kent Law Review, Michigan State University Press, ABC-CLIO, and includes a critique of the book, The Spectacular Few: Prisoner Radicalization and the Evolving Terrorist Threat and other short writings.

SpearIt earned a B.A. in philosophy, magna cum laude, from the University of Houston, a master's in theological studies at Harvard Divinity School, a Ph.D. in religious studies at UC Santa Barbara, and a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law. Currently SpearIt is the Chair for the American Bar Association Subcommittee on Prisoner Education, Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding; Board Member of the Society of American Law Teachers; and Contributing Editor for Jotwell Criminal Law.

Document Type

Event

Start Date

17-2-2016 12:00 PM

End Date

17-2-2016 1:15 PM

Location

Fairhaven College Auditorium

Resource Type

Moving image

Title of Series

World Issues Forum

Genre/Form

lectures

Contributing Repository

Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Keywords

Hip hop culture, Prison system, Islam

Rights

This resources is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws.

Language

English

Format

video/mp4

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Feb 17th, 12:00 PM Feb 17th, 1:15 PM

Sonic Jihad: Muslim Hip Hop in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Fairhaven College Auditorium

This presentation examines the intersection of prisons, Islam, and hip hop culture to understand a unique species of legal criticism. For Muslims in America, hip hop culture has functioned as a megaphone for rhetorical resistance that offers “new terrain” for understanding the law. More specifically, among the troubles that have afflicted the hip hop generation, perhaps none is as traumatic as losing friends, family, and loved ones to the proverbial belly of the beast. As the phrase “down by law” indicates, critique of the law has been etched in hip hop culture from the earliest days, which has invariably involved blasting prisons. The more extreme expressions redefine fantasy fiction through apocalyptic visions of revolution and revenge, with prisons representing an extension of the slave system that first brought African Muslims to America as chattel. This talk focuses on this discursive war and challenges the notion that the most radical voices in Muslim America are to be found in mosques or other Muslim gatherings. Such a position must contend with a sonic jihad in hip hop whose war rhetoric rivals that of any jihadist organization.

About the Lecturer:

SpearIt is an Associate Professor of Law at Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University, where he teaches Criminal Law, Evidence, Professional Responsibility, and Criminal Procedure. SpearIt has extensive teaching experience and in addition to teaching law, he has taught undergraduate courses as well as taught inmates at San Quentin State Prison. His research concentrates on criminal justice, and most recently his work appears in the Chicago-Kent Law Review, Michigan State University Press, ABC-CLIO, and includes a critique of the book, The Spectacular Few: Prisoner Radicalization and the Evolving Terrorist Threat and other short writings.

SpearIt earned a B.A. in philosophy, magna cum laude, from the University of Houston, a master's in theological studies at Harvard Divinity School, a Ph.D. in religious studies at UC Santa Barbara, and a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law. Currently SpearIt is the Chair for the American Bar Association Subcommittee on Prisoner Education, Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding; Board Member of the Society of American Law Teachers; and Contributing Editor for Jotwell Criminal Law.