Academic Researcher and Composer
Since 2009, I have been involved in a research project exploring the roles of music in radical culture. Radicalism and Music is a comparative study of the music cultures of four diverse radical groups: al-Qa’ida, the American racist skinheads, Christian-affiliated radicalism, and eco-animal rights militancy. The intention of this study is to offer an introductory documentation, examination, and interpretation of the varied functions of music within these distinct radical environments.
My scholarship was supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011 and has culminated in a book published by Wesleyan University Press in November 2015. Among the specific groups addressed and notable highlights of this research, include:
Read the Opening
Read excerpts from my interview correspondences with incarcerated ALF activist, Walter Bond, appearing in JEX, Journal EXIT - Deutschland. Zeitschrift fur Deradikalisierung und demokratische Kultur (2014)
Articles and press related to Radicalism & Music
Click here to read Jonathan's September 28, 2015 article in The Conversation, "For the Islamic State, music is the 'alcohol of the soul'."
Click here to listen to Jonathan's piece on terrorism and music for "The Academic Minute".
Pieslak quoted several times in an NK News article on youth indoctrination in North Korea.
Pieslak quoted in feature story, "The Ties That Bind Jihadists," in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Radicalism and Music book talks and signings at Kinokuniya Bookstore (NY, NY) and Labyrinth Bookstore (Princeton, NJ).
Radicalism & Music
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Al-Qa’ida Culture and Anashid
Chapter 2. The Music of Racist Skinhead Culture
Interlude. Race Faiths and Music: The Intersection of White Supremacy and Christianity
Chapter 3. Christian-Affiliated Radicalism and Music
Chapter 4. The Music Culture of Radical Environmental and Animal-Rights Activism (REARA)
Chapter 5. Understanding Music’s Roles in Radical Culture
Appendix: Hardline Manifesto