Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Kosher Cell Phone

This week we will explore birth of the kosher cell phone in Israel. The Kosher cell phone was developed in 2005 in response to the Ultra Orthodox community cry for phone technology that provide essential mobile services minus the problematic functions that might allow users access to questionable moral influences. Kosher cell phones have been stripped of video, web & sms access that might expose users to harmful content. They also bear a kosher symbol, indicating the devices are approved for use by a number of rabbis in their community. Besides the assigned reading, if you are interested in finding out more check out these recent articles: Kosher phone line to be launched, Partner to provide kosher cell phones and Israel's 'kosher' cell phone testing appetite for growth

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Muslim Hip Hop, Pop & Nasheed

This week we will be looking at Religion and Music, and specifically at how contemporary Muslim artists are using music to communicate ideas about religious community and identity. We will draw on this week's reading, "A New Research Agenda: Exploring Transglobal Hip Hop Umma" by H. Samy Alim, which explores how hip Hop is being used to bring cohesion across cultures to Muslims around the world. For more information on Contemporary Muslim check out Muslim Hip-Hop which provides profiles and music samples from Muslim artist around the world who see their faith as a prime motivation for creating their music.

In class we will be looking at several examples of popular contemporary Muslim music including Sami Yusuf and the Danish Band Outlandish and the South African Band Iman and how they try to communicate issue of faith cross culturally through their music. Check out the following videos:

Sami Yusuf, is a rising star of contemporary Arabic Nasheed (traditional) music. His song Hasbi Rabbi is sung in English, Hindi, Turkish & Arabic and the video takes him to different parts of the world to engage with the Muslim Umma (community) in those places.

Outlandish, a Muslim Danish Trio mixes hip hop, folk, soul and pop to create music focusing on themes of racism, social justice and religion. as seen in their video " I Only Ask of God"

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Youth, Media & "Funky Religion"

All being well technology wise we will have an opportunity to nest week to interact on Tuesday with the author of our assigned reading. Lynn Schofield Clark is an international expert in youth, media and spirituality. Her award winning book From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural explores intersection between the supernatural/paranormal and youth popular culture to see how it informs young people's religious beliefs and practices. Come prepared by reading her chapter "The 'Funky' Side of Religion: An Ethnographic Study of Adolescent Religious Identity and the Media" and be ready to ask her questions related to her work.