Since the summer of 2014, the international media has been mesmerized with the spectre of ISIS, a radical jihadist militia in Syria, which has rapidly expanded the territory under its control in recent months to Iraq, Libya and other conflict zones in the Middle East. Yet despite considerable coverage, very little is known about where they come from, their appeal, and their messaging short of the gruesome videos they produce to maximize reach.
This PeaceTalk will offer a historical background to explain where ISIS comes from and how they have leveraged digital media to recruit and radicalize supporters in the region and internationally. This talk will also explore popular cultural resistance against ISIS in Muslim-majority countries. Finally it will touch on contemporary policy and discourse implications of ISIS' media discourse.
Adel Iskandar is an Assistant Professor of Global Communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of several works including Egypt In Flux: Essays on an Unfinished Revolution (AUCP/OUP),Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network that is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism (Basic Books), Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation (University of California Press), Mediating the Arab Uprisings (Tadween Publishing), and Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring (Palgrave Macmillan). Iskandar's work deals with media, identity and politics and has lectured extensively on these topics at universities worldwide. He has given hundreds of interviews to national and international media outlets on global politics and communication. Before joining SFU, Iskandar taught for several years at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He is a co-editor of popular e-zine Jadaliyya.