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Rebel Music

In this pioneering study, Hisham Aïdi—an expert on globalization and social movements—takes us into the musical subcultures that have emerged among Muslim youth worldwide over the last decade.  He shows how music—primarily hip-hop, but also rock, reggae, Gnawa and Andalusian—has come to express a shared Muslim consciousness in face of War on Terror policies.


This remarkable phenomenon extends from the banlieues of Paris to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, from the park jams of the South Bronx to the Sufi rock bands of Pakistan. The United States and other Western governments have even tapped into these trends, using hip hop and Sufi music to de-radicalize Muslim youth abroad. Aïdi situates these developments in a broader historical context, tracing longstanding connections between Islam and African-American music. Thoroughly researched, beautifully written, Rebel Music takes the pulse of a revolutionary soundtrack that spans the globe.

“Fascinating. . . Highly original. . . . Breathtaking.” — The New York Times

Rebel Music may be the most bafflingly significant book I’ve read in years.  It is a marvel. . . . Hisham Aïdi is a brilliant expositor of this powerful planetary cultural phenomenon.” — David Levering Lewis, author of God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215

“Impressive. . . . With the confidence of a charismatic professor, Aïdi’s discussion wanders through Detroit, Brazil, and ‘Jim Crow’ Arabia.” — The New York Times Book Review

“Mohammed meets Malcolm; Gnawa meets Guantanamo; Bandung meets B-boys; banlieues meet Bahia: this is the vibrant, noisy, embattled world Hisham Aïdi brings to light. . . . In what can genuinely be described as a tour de force for its global scope, historical sweep, cultural virtuosity, and political sophistication, Rebel Music examines this soundtrack in a global context, from slavery to the latest war on terror.” — Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
“A brilliant, utterly unique, effortlessly transnational and wonderfully written account of hip hop and new Muslim youth culture.” —

Rebel Music offers an extraordinarily rich and variegated [musical] map . . . From Paris to Rio, from Philadelphia and Brooklyn to Morocco and southern Spain, Aïdi is the peripatetic chronicler of the intricate intersecting musical and political worlds whose shared issues have never before been so cogently crystallized.” — American Literary History

Rebel Music has no antecedent or peer in musical historiography . . . [Aïdi] acts as historian, musicologist, journalist and theologian, no easy juggling act . . . It is a virtuoso performance of historical knowledge and cultural observations, as Aïdi jams on personalities and communities.” — Journal of the American Academy of Religion

“Phenomenal.” — PopMatters

“In this bracing, fascinating, and utterly timely exploration of music, race, and cultural identity, Aïdi examines young European and American Muslims and their search for what he calls ‘a nonracist utopia’. . . . This book will be especially appealing to young people who want to better understand the Muslim perspective on war, prejudice, and national identity.” — Booklist (starred)

“A multilayered and intriguing story of the mobilization of Muslim youth through music rather than militancy. . . . Moving from jazz to the late Algerian pop star Salim Halali, Aïdi’s wide-ranging, dense work persuades by its passionate accretion of detail.” — Kirkus Reviews

Black Routes to Islam

Starting with 19th century narratives of African American travelers to the Holy Land, the following chapters probe Islam's role in urban social movements, music and popular culture, relations between African Americans and Muslim immigrants, and the racial politics of American Islam with the ongoing war in Iraq.

"Erudite yet easy to read, these timely and stimulating essays cover a wide variety of fascinating topics. They revealingly map the unique and intriguing landscape of Islam among contemporary African-Americans. Along the pages, with the help of music, history, linguistics, sociology and several other disciplines, their community, one of the least understood in the country, comes to life in all its striking complexity and diversity." - Sylviane A. Diouf, author of Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas

"This impressive and sweeping collection of essays examines the hidden history of the 'Muslim presence' in North America that began with the enslavement of significant numbers of Muslim Africans. It shows how the development of US racial categories and hierarchies has long been suffused with assumptions about the Muslim world. And, it powerfully suggests the historical centrality of Islamic discourse and practice to the sense of common oppression and linked fate central to the emergence of modern black freedom struggles."

Nikhil Pal Singh, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History, New York University

"This exceedingly well-written and thoughtful collection of articles and essays simultaneously illuminates as it transforms such critically important fields as Black Studies and Islamic Studies. The bold themes of this book are as expansive as the breadth of its geography, ranging as it does from Harlem, Black Chicago and Watts to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Still, the ultimate value of this quite insightful book may be the bright light it shines on how the U.S. - and, indeed, the entire international community - grapples with what may be the most important issue of this century: how to engage Islam and the Muslim world."

Gerald Horne, author of' The End of Empires: African-Americans and India

"This collection brings together some of the best and most innovative scholars in the country, writing essays that are engaged, intellectually rigorous, and a pleasure to read. Black Routes to Islam is really about the broad canvas of American relationships to the Middle East - with religion, race, and politics at the heart of the story. It tells a transnational history we need to know, and then brings that history into our current moment, showing how 'war on terror' has come to American Muslim communities. This is a wonderful, timely, politically powerful book."

Melani McAlister is an Associate Professor of American Studies and International Affairs at George Washington University

Redeploying the State

This study offers a comparative analysis of Latin American and Middle Eastern corporatism by looking at Egypt and Mexico's differing experiences with privatization and showing that how the working class was attached to the regime during the period of state-building shapes leaders institutional options and capabilities for market reform.

"Aidi's study contributes to our understanding of the complex dynamics of market reforms. He rightly notes that rather than simply shrinking the state, neoliberal reforms redefine the state's role in society and reshape the state's relationships with both society and the economy. . . This is a welcome addition to the comparative study of neoliberalism and further contributes to linking the study of the Middle East to broader theoretical debates in comparative politics."

Arab Studies Journal

"The major strengths of the book are its historical approach, its concern for institutions and the relevance of the [Latin American and Middle Eastern] cases compared. It's a relief to see there are still texts with these characteristics, that go beyond methodological individualism and presumptuous attempts of statistics."

Foro Internacional


"Redeploying the State is an important cross-continental analysis that is recommended to scholars of both the Middle East and Latin America."

Ahmet T. Kuru, Insight Turkey

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