From: Muslim Cool

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233 Notes Introduction 1 In acknowledgment that the United States is part of the Americas and hence only one among many American nations, I use the phrase “U.S. American” rather than “American” (on its own) to describe residents of the United States. 2 Quotation marks are used here in recognition of the fact that my use of the term teachers to describe my interlocutors might be unfamiliar to readers—they are not used to suggest that my interlocutors are not really my teachers. Accordingly, subsequent use of the term, when describing my interlocutors, appears without quotation marks. 3 My expression, Muslim Cool, is inspired by the term New Muslim Cool coined by the independent documentary filmmaker Jennifer Maytorena Taylor. New Muslim Cool is the title of Taylor’s documentary, for which I was a senior project advisor. Taylor’s invocation of the term New Muslim Cool is a riff off of Miles Davis’s “Birth of the Cool,” and her film follows Hamza Perez, a Puerto Rican American Muslim and hip hop artist. The documentary looks intimately at not only Perez’s music but also his transitions as a family man and community leader who is targeted by post–9/11 government surveillance. 4 Englewood is a neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago. Its residents are predominately U.S. Black American and the neighborhood is most popularly known because of a series of negative indicators including high rates of unemployment and violent crime and low incomes. These negative indicators are the results of decades of disinvestment in the neighborhood by the city government and business elites. 5 My rendering of Blackness is deeply informed by the work of Stuart Hall, particularly his theorization of Afrodiasporic identities within the framework of similarity and difference. Similarity underscores what is shared—the broad and specific spatiotemporal realities that link Afrodiasporic peoples—whereas difference emphasizes the diversity of Afrodiasporic experiences and identities (Hall 1990). Hall’s formulation of Blackness is true to my own theoretical orientation and also reflects the ways in which Blackness functioned in my field sites. Likewise, Kelley’s notion of polyculturalism, that cultures are never pure but in fact come into being through cultural exchange, is also key to my work, particularly in the way he identifies the multiple cultural flows that comprise the category marked “Black.” For more engagement with polyculturalism, see Prashad 2001; Maira 2009; Sharma 2010; Daulatzai 2012. 234 | Notes 6 I use the term “Black” as a modifier in this Diasporic sense and “U.S. Black,” “U.S. Black American,” or “Black U.S. American” when identifying the specific contours of Blackness in the United States as well as those Black individuals who live in the United States. This designation would include Black individuals who are recent immigrants from Africa; however, the majority of my Black teachers were not of recent immigrant origin, whether from the continent of Africa or from other parts of the Americas. 7 In his recent monograph The Hip Hop Underground James Peterson deploys “root” and “route” as “figuratively emblematic of an individual’s connections to his/her history and culture,” and “rhizome” as a “conceptual understanding” of how Blackness “achieves its many meanings and manifestations” (2014, 1–2). Scholars have also used roots, routes, and rhizomes to deterritorialize the African diaspora itself in order to attend to the being and becoming of Diasporic Blackness (Hall 1990; Moore 1994; West 1994). 8 In a cypher, hip hop heads “battle” each other to establish who has the best dance moves or lyrical skills. The cypher is also a place in which knowledge and cultural practices are exchanged and through which community is built among hip hop folk. 9 This bias is reflective of anthropology’s area studies fetish, which is a remnant of anthropology’s colonial past as well as a focus motivated by disciplinary anxieties around “objectivity,” which ties research validity to the distance between the researcher and her data. This focus is symptomatic of the current U.S. cultural milieu, in which intellectual production is valuable only if it is “objective,” that is, “scientific.” If objectivity can arise only through distance from research subjects, then U.S. American anthropology must be conceived of as the study of the “other” outside the United States. 10 These differences are geographic (e.g., Senegalese versus Syrians) as well as based on class and timing (e.g., the waves of highly educated immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s versus the less-skilled...


Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Relations with Muslims.
  • Muslims -- United States -- Social conditions.
  • African American Muslims -- Social conditions.
  • African Americans -- Race identity.
  • Hip-hop -- Social aspects -- United States.
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