Students Respond to Sufi Music

Students Respond to Sufi Music May 9, 2018

This is an educational documentary produced by students who took my class on Islam in the Spring of 2018. This documentary is both an exercise in learning and teaching for the students.  I am sharing this because I am proud of my students and want to highlight the openness and inclusiveness they have shown while studying a different culture and faith. Also included is a short commentary they have written to go with their video.

By Z. Roy, H. Lafargue, I. S. Cohen, K. Hanson, and K. Donahue.

This video is an analysis of Sufi music, and the common understanding of it in America today. The video includes a brief overview of the history of Sufism, and its relationship with music, as well as clips and analysis from the documentary Sufi Soul. The documentary goes into even further history as well as an overview of what truly comprises the complex genre. The underlying idea of this video however is to take a closer look at what college students know about Sufi music, and the music as it relates to Islam.

Throughout the video, many college students were interviewed and asked a broad range of questions regarding the music. Question topics ranged from language and origin, to broader understanding of the religion of Islam. After listening to their answers, we tried to inform them, and leave them with a better understanding of Sufism and Islam as a whole. Many people responded with genuine surprise, and did not expect to hear such music in relation with Islam. There were many responses saying that the music was celebratory, even though a lot of the participants admitted that they would not have associated such happiness and celebration with Islam. While many of the interviewees came in not knowing much if anything about the mystical tradition of Islam, they were all able to walk away saying they had heard and learned a little something about Sufism.

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