Podcast #1: Introduction & Test
This first podcast just gives me a chance to say hello in advance of our meeting and to make sure everyone can access these recordings. The samples used are from Mos Def's "Wahid" (Ecstatic, 2009) and Jurassic 5's "Concrete Schoolyard" (Jurassic 5, 1998). Just in case you're not familiar with these guys, both Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) and several members of Jurassic 5 are African American converts to Islam.
Podcast #2: The Life of Muhammad
This podcast gives you a preview of the BBC documentary we will be watching on the life of the Prophet Muhammad as well as the companion reading by historian Fred Donner. It situates these two sources in context and gives you some hints as to what to focus on and how to read/watch strategically. The samples used include one Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (A Night at the Opera, 1975). Queen's lead singer, Freddy Mercury, was born on the island of Zanzibar off the East African coast into a Zoroastrian family--which you will recall was one of the early religions of western Asia at the time of the appearance of Islam. The background track is from A Tribe Called Quest's "Luck of Lucien" (People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, 1990). One of the Tribe's lead MCs, Q-Tip, is a convert to Islam. Additional clips were taken from Fred Donner's lecture at the University of Chicago in 2011, available in full here) and from the BBC documentary on the life of Muhammad from 2011 (available in full here).
Podcast #3: A few things on the Quran and Hadith
This podcast introduces you to some of the main themes relating to the Quran and Hadith that we will be discussing, including a preview of the documentary and readings you will be looking at. The samples comes from Jurassic 5's "Improvise" (Quality Control, 2000) and the legendary Miles Davis's "Freddie Freeloader" (Kind of Blue, 1959). While not himself a Muslim, Davis famously said that if he were religious he felt like he would probably be a Muslim. The recording from the documentary is from Le Coran: aux origines du livre (Arte, 2008) and the recording of Surat al-'Alaq is from a recitation of Mishary Rashid Alafasy, available here on Youtube in full.
Podcast #4: On Shiʿism
This podcast introduces a few of the basic ideas we will be discussing when we talk about Shiʿi Islam in class. In particular, it discusses the shape of the origins story for Shiʿism and the notion of multiple 'orthodoxies.' The first and final samples are drawn from Parliament Funkadelic's "Mothership Connection" (1975). While most consider this album a funk concept album with a space-inspired theme, there are some interesting parallels between the notion of a 'mothership' and some of the foundational ideas of the African American religious movement the Nation of Islam during the same period (if you're interested, see this article here). The brief sample in the middle is a song "al-Ḥubb niṣfayn" (available on YouTube here) by Yemeni oud player ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Akhfash. His native Yemen is home to Sunnis as well as Shīʿīs of both the Zaydī and Ismāʿīlī traditions, making it a very special place. The selections from the interview with Prof. Najam Haider were sampled from the video interview published by Cambridge University Press on YouTube here.