TALK: Really Feeling It: Ambiguity and Sincerity in Egyptian Pop Music and Politics

Event Date: 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Event Date Details: 

Wednesday, April 15, 4:00 pm

UCSB MultiCultural Center Theater

CISM Podcast: Daniel Gilman Lecture 4/15/2015

Contemporary Egyptian youth place a high premium on sincerity of emotion as an aesthetic criterion in pop music. The industry that produces such music, however, wants to attract the widest possible consumer base, which encourages songwriters to compose vaguely worded, cliché-ridden songs that invoke emotional response without clearly describing an emotional scenario. This dichotomy extends to the realm of political music created during and after the 2011 uprising in Egypt, as youthful activists attempted to make the case for political renewal while at the same time trying to avoid alienating any potential listener. This talk will explore the nature of this aesthetic conundrum and explain one of the major problems that activists faced in convincing the larger public to support systemic change.

Daniel J. Gilman trained as an anthropologist of expressive culture at the University of Texas at Austin. His doctoral research focused on reception of the popular music industry in Cairo among the contemporary youth generation.