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"On the Symbolic Uses of Osama bin Laden: Politics, Consumer Culture, and the Transnational Imagination,” by Jeremy Prestholdt, CMSP Seminar Series

Monday, February 26, 2018 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Morrill Hall, 404

This talk draws from the forthcoming book, Icons of Dissent: The Global Resonance of Che Guevara, Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur, and Osama bin Laden (Oxford University Press), to trace divergent uses of Osama bin Laden’s image.  After September 11, Bin Laden became an ever-present and highly contentious iconic figure.  In the West, his image was a focal point for collective anger, and popular emphasis on Bin Laden often unwittingly reduced the threat of international terrorism to his image alone.  In many other world regions, notably West Africa, East Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, popular interpretations of Bin Laden also contributed to alternative uses.  For instance, as a reference to events of global significance, Bin Laden’s image appeared on a range of everyday consumer items.  Additionally, some young people in Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, Malaysia, and elsewhere employed his image to represent subversive political stances.  Yet, those who utilized Bin Laden iconography often uncoupled his image from his ideology and rhetoric, harnessing it as a simultaneously local and transnational symbol for multifaceted discontent.  Thus, much like earlier global icons of dissent, Bin Laden became a figure onto which diverse audiences projected myriad anxieties and grievances. 

Jeremy Prestholdt is a Professor of History at the University of California San Diego

Event Type

Lecture

Departments

Near Eastern Studies, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Comparative Muslim Societies Program, Global Cornell

Contact E-Mail

et54@cornell.edu

Contact Name

Eric Tagliacozzo

Speaker

Jeremy Prestholdt

Speaker Affiliation

History, University of California San Diego

Disability Access Information

Wheelchair accessible

Open To

Free and Open to the Public

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