We are delighted to
announce the publication of AKU-ISMC’s new book: The Awakening of Islamic Pop
Music by Professor Jonas Otterbeck which marks the launch of AKU-ISMC and
Aga Khan Music Programme joint series: Music and Performance in Muslim Contexts.
The Awakening of Islamic Pop Music, which is published in full Open Access in association with Edinburgh University Press, examines how the making, marketing and performance of new Islamic music genres relate to Islamic discourse and thought.
Awakening – an Islamic media company formed in London – has created the soundtrack to many Muslim lives during the last two decades. It has produced three superstars (Sami Yusuf, Maher Zain and Harris J.) among a host of other artists. As the company celebrates their first 20 years in the industry, Jonas Otterbeck examines their remarkable rise to success and their established reputation as one of the most important global enterprises producing pop music inspired by Islam.
Otterbeck thoroughly describes the history and development of new Islamic popular music genres, in particular pop-nashid and Islamic pop, for the first time. He argues that Awakening – a company with the ambition to portray itself as Islamic – is best understood in relation to the ethical turn in Islamic thinking. In analysing the turn to ethics, he explores how the Islamic pop industry is, in effect, altering the very formulations of Islamic thought.
Closely examining the ethical masculinity of the Awakening artists, alongside their personas in songs, on stage and on social media, the book analyses how popular culture and the creative arts challenge Islamic (re)thinking.
Professor of Islamic Studies at the Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, London. Prior to this, he was Professor of Islamic Studies at Lund University, Sweden, and Lecturer in International Migration and Ethnic Relations at Malmö University, Sweden. Over the last twenty-five years, he has engaged in research about contemporary Islam, often with political relevance. He has published on the situation of Muslim pupils in Swedish schools, the identity constructions of Muslim youth and their understanding of Islam, the representation of Islam and Muslims in Sweden, Islamic revivalist discourse, active citizenship among Muslims, and the relationship between European states and Muslim organisations. His research has also focused on music censorship and artists’ right to expression. Among his many publications are the books Muslims in Western Europe (together with J. Nielsen, Edinburgh University Press, 2016) and numerous articles in journals such as Popular Music and Society, Contemporary Islam and Ethnic and Racial Studies.