This is the archived SXSW 2012 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.

Transnational Beats: Muslim Americans and Hip Hop

#sxsw #muslimbeat

Islam impacts American culture in profound ways. Cultivating identity and political progression and reform, Hip Hop is, arguably, an integral force in the American Muslim identity. Non-Black American Muslims from immigrant communities have appropriated the Black American experience, and Hip Hop has proven to be a transnational form of cultural communication. Explore the relationship between Islam and Hip Hop in America.



MODERATOR Sana Saeed Ms McGill University

Sana Saeed is a politically savvy writer and humourist currently based in Canada. She is an MA candidate at the Institute for Islamic Studies at McGill University, where she recently completed writing a social history on a series of conferences and workshops, during the Oslo interim period, on the future of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

While she writes on a diverse range of topics, she primarily is interested in U.S foreign and domestic policy; contemporary political history of the Levant; consequences of domestic counter-terrorism policies on civil liberties, Western-Muslim identity; sexuality and sex construction; effects of pornography on men and women; state-citizen-refugee relations; Hip hop; Black American Islamic history; European politics and social interaction with Islam and immigrants and faith-based social welfare organizations in the Muslim world.

Sana is editor of KABOBfest, a contributor at MuslimahMediaWatch, has been published in international magazines and online publications and has presented and spoken at several conferences and symposiums.

Maytha Alhassen Doctoral Student & Freelance Journalist University of Southern California

Maytha Alhassen is a doctoral student (I might be a candidate by the time the book releases) in American Studies & Ethnicity at University of Southern California (USC). Her work bridges the worlds of social justice, academic research, media engagement and artistic expression. Artistically, Alhassen writes and performs poetry and has worked as a performer and organizer for the play “Hijabi Monologues.” In 2005 she became the first female blogger for Arab-American themed blog Kabobfest ( Because of her blogging experience with the site, an unexpected foray into hosting began in 2007 with the Arab American TV variety show “What’s Happening” ( on Arabic station ART. Most recently, Alhassen has appeared on Al Jazeera English's “The Stream” ( as a guest co-host. She also shared what it means to be a US-born woman practicing Islam with CNN. Her essay on the same topic was published in May 2011 in the first book of the “I Speak for Myself” series. Alhassen’s writings have appeared in CNN, Huffington Post, Counterpunch and in academic journals and she has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, and The Nation. Alhassen received her B.A. in Political Science and Arabic and Islamic Studies from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a master’s in Anthropology from Columbia University. While at Columbia, she researched Malcolm X’s connections to the Arab world for the Malcolm X Project and worked with arts-based social justice organization Blackout Arts Collective. As a member of the collective, she has facilitated creative literacy workshops with incarcerated youth at Rikers Island. Educationally, Alhassen is currently working with online educational children’s travel series “Project Explorer” ( as a presenter and independently conducts workshops on “Arabs in the Media, Law and Culture” nationally. Her work can be read and viewed on her personal website:

Dr Laith Ulaby UCLA

Laith Ulaby received his PhD in ethnomusicology from UCLA in 2008. He has
conducted over three years of field research in the Arab world focusing on both traditional music and the music industry. In addition to teaching at Georgetown University, UCLA, and the University of Redlands, Ulaby has worked extensively as a musician contributing to the soundtracks for award-winning documentary films and network TV shows. In 2011, he was the Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Convergence working on the US-Muslim Engagement Initiative.

Ted Swedenburg Professor University Of Arkansas

Andrew Dalack University Of Michigan Law School

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