L-R, Jonas Otterbeck and Theodore Levin
AKU-ISMC and the Aga Khan Music Programme are delighted to announce a joint publications series entitled Music and Performance in Muslim Contexts, published in association with Edinburgh University Press.
Developed in collaboration with the Aga Khan Music Programme (AKMP) and the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC), Music and Performance in Muslim Contexts presents innovative scholarship in music, dance, theatre, and other performative practices inspired or shaped by Muslim artistic, cultural, intellectual, religious, and social heritage, including in new creative forms. Bringing together outstanding new work by leading scholars from a variety of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences, the series embraces contemporary and historical cultural spheres both within Muslim-majority societies and in diasporic subcultures and micro-cultures around the world.
The series editors are Theodore Levin (AKMP) and Jonas Otterbeck (AKU-ISMC) and the first two volumes in the series include:
Vol I -- The Awakening of Islamic Pop Music by Jonas Otterbeck
Publication Date: 2021
This book provides the first thorough description of the history and development of new popular music genres inspired by Islamic faith. It centres on Awakening, an Islamic media company formed in London in 2000. Awakening has created the soundtrack to many Muslim lives during the last two decades, and has produced three superstars, Sami Yusuf, Maher Zain and Harris J. The popularity of Awakening’s artists and the music they have pioneered makes examination of these new musical trends urgent and important. The book argues that at each step, Awakening has had to consider its ethical profile in relation to Islamic discourses on ethics, both with regard to character—especially that of artists—and with regard to social engagement, for example, the company’s participation in charity events, concert productions, and collaborations. The company’s decisions and strategies align with an ethical turn in the thinking of the so-called Sunni wasatiyya (middle way) intellectuals, whose views are gaining traction in several key Muslim environments. The Awakening of Islamic Pop Music offers an analysis that considers both the vicissitudes of consumer society—for Awakening is a commercial company—and the impact of ideas and doctrines emanating from the political class, religious intellectuals, and civil society.
Vol II -- From Rumi to the Whirling Dervishes by Walter Feldman
Publication Date: 2022
The Mevlevi ceremony (ayin/mukabele) has elicited wonder since European travelers first viewed it in the early seventeenth century. It is one of a very few Islamic cultural institutions to have acquired a place in the Western cultural imagination sufficiently important to require a Western name, in this case the “Whirling Dervishes.” From Rumi to the Whirling Dervishes is the first introductory study of the connection of music, poetry, mystical praxis and social history underlying this phenomenon. Drawing on the author’s decades-long study of Ottoman music, both with living musical masters and in historical musical and poetic sources, the book will be the first since Abdülbaki Gölpınarlı’s 1983 monograph (in Turkish) to present the music and some of the poetic legacy of the Mevleviye to a wider public.
Jonas Otterbeck is a Professor at AKU-ISMC and an expert on Islam and creativity. His research interests span contemporary Muslim cultures, arts and popular culture, especially music; migration; Islam in Europe; new Islamic thinking; gender and sexuality studies; the anthropology of Islam; and Islamophobia.
Theodore Levin is the Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music at Dartmouth College and Senior Advisor to the Aga Khan Music Programme. A longtime student of music and expressive culture in Central Asia, Levin is currently writing about music and arts education in international development work, focusing on the Aga Khan Music Programme. He holds a PhD from Princeton University.