Voices for Non-Violence in the Muslim World

Seed Grant Semester Awarded
Fall
Seed Grant Award Year
2009

Voices for Non-Violence in the Muslim World will investigate, educate, and disseminate knowledge about the compatibility of Islam and non-violence as expressed through the lives of five well-known Muslim proponents. The spread of violent extremism across the globe has largely been accomplished through the new media communication strategies of individuals and groups that articulate a dominant (albeit fragmented and flawed) narrative that links Islam to unrestrained violence under the guise of jihad. This narrative is produced and reproduced in everyday talk and mediated forums. As a result, any hope of informed and civil public discourse about the relationship between Islam, Muslim communities, and the West has effectively been "hijacked" by those who promote the enactment of a binary worldview through physical and discursive violence. This discourse promotes an ideology of violence that is reified through communication within U.S. and Western discourse communities, particularly in the context of an increasingly global network and mediated environment.

Voices for Non-Violence in the Muslim World aims to unite transdisciplinary humanities scholarship with new media to explore paradigms of Islamic non-voilence as a defensible alternative for the resolution of sociopolitical grievances in the Muslim world. We aim to recover the voices of Muslim scholars and activists whose culturally-, socially- and theologically-grounded messages may work to counter the ideology of violence, but have been marginalized and suppressed by dominant voices. We seek to represent these alternative voices using the very narrative forms and media channels that extremists have successfully appropriated. Through this project, we hope to interject information and interpretations into the public discourse that may counter (or at least challenge) the normative status of pevasive binary, dogmatic, insular extremist discourse. Our ultimate goal is to encourage both the academic community and audiences from the broader public sphere, at home and abroad, to develop more appropriately nuanced and sound understandings and communication with and about the "Muslim World."

Seed Grant Project Director(s)
Angela Trethewey, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Daniel Bernardi, Film & Media Studies
Jeffry Halverson, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Scott Ruston, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication