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Empire State of Mind: Race, Music and Democracy Promotion
Monday, April 21, 2014 - 5:30pm
Empire State of Mind: Race, Music and Democracy Promotion

Smith Memorial Student Union, room 238, 1825 SW Broadway, Portland State University
Free & open to the public


Hisham Aidi will talk about the intermingling between Islam and music in post-war America. He will describe how music is the realm where Muslim diaspora consciousness and identity politics are most poignantly being debated and expressed today. Given music's ability to shape identity, ideology, and group solidarity, he will also spotlight government attempts to shape music flows as a way to homogenize mass behavior. Aidi's lecture will focus on the post-9/11 attempts to revive the jazz diplomacy program of the 1950s, and the State Department's current efforts to use hip hop - and more broadly the civil rights movement - for democracy promotion, strategic communication and perception management in the Muslim world. He will examine how American and British music diplomacy fits into larger attempts to promote a liberal Islam.


Hisham Aidi received his PhD in political science from Columbia University, and has taught at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, and at the Driskell Center for the Study of the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Redeploying the State (Palgrave 2008) a comparative study of privatization and labor movements in Latin America and the Arab world. He is also the editor with Manning Marable of an edited volume titled Black Routes to Islam (Palgrave 2009). As a journalist, he has written for various outlets including The New African, The Atlantic, ColorLines, Souls, and Middle East Report. Aidi was named a Carnegie Scholar in 2009, and a Global Fellow at the Open Society Foundation in 2011. He is currently a Lecturer at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs - and is the author most recently of Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture (Pantheon 2014).

Copies of Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth will be available for purchase. Dr. Aidi will sign books after his talk.


Presented by the Reed College Anthropology, Political Science and Religion Departments and the Portland State University Middle East Studies Center.

The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University promotes understanding of the people, cultures, languages and religions of the Middle East. As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies under the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI program, the Center serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. The Middle East Studies Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, lectures, and a resource library. | | 503-725-4074