Muslims and American Popular Culture: Entertainment and Digital Culture; Print Culture and Identity

OMIDVAR, Iraj & , eds. 2 vol. 435p. index. notes. Praeger. Feb. 2015. Tr $131. ISBN 9780313379628; ebk. $131. ISBN 9780313379635. LC 2013024321.
Gr 12 Up—Offering a wide range of information without sacrificing depth, this set examines the ways that Islam and Muslims are depicted in American pop culture. The first volume tackles the entertainment industry, addressing comedy and theater, television, film, popular fiction and poetry, music, and digital culture. The second volume deals with print material and identity in Islam, covering black Muslims, journalism and digital media, societal trends and issues, Islamic-influenced architecture, and memoirs. Chapters are comprised of essays written by a variety of professionals—academics, librarians, grad students, and a couple of ethnomusicologists, all of whom bear impressive, relevant credentials. Many of the essays tie in with 21st-century mainstream news items, such as how the events of September 11, 2001, affected the American perspective of the Muslim faith ("'There's Nothing Funny About Your People': Muslim-American Humor in the Post-9/11 World") and the furor over UNC-Chapel Hill students being required to read the Qur'an ("Reading the Qur'an in College: the Chapel Hill Tempest"). Some essays take on subjects that relate to a specialized field of interest ("The Influence of Muslims and Islam in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Comics" and "Mosques in Minnesota"). The scholarly writing style and the presumption that readers have a solid understanding of major historical and current events make this unique set too advanced for most high schools but ideal for colleges and universities. Illuminating and timely.—Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC

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