Johari Jabir, PhD
African American Studies
Building & Room:
601 S Morgan St.
Johari Jabir is a musician and scholar. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Johari began piano lessons at an early age and was immersed in the expressive culture of St. Louis’ Black working class religious community, which is the foundation for his continued practice as a musician, cultural historian, and contemplative teacher. Johari has enjoyed an extensive career in church music and musical theatre, serving as associate conductor of the 1991/1990 Broadway revival of The Wiz. Johari is a prison abolitionist, and is currently professor of Black Studies at University of Illinois, Chicago, and director of music for St. George & St. Matthias Episcopal Church in Chicago. His first book, Conjuring Freedom: Music and Masculinity in the Gospel Army of the Civil War (Ohio State University Press, 2017), is a cultural history of the nation’s first Black regiment, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers. Conjuring Freedom attends to the “spirituals” sung by the regiment in the ring shout as a mode of conjuring the spirit for military aims. Johari teaches several Black Studies courses, such as Black Music and Black Feminism, Black Religious History, and he assists public school teachers with practices of contemplative pedagogy as a response to trauma and social inequity. Johari is currently developing an undergraduate seminar called, “The Beloved Community,” a multidisciplinary that imagines a conversation between American Pragmatists such as Josiah Royce, and Civil Rights Activists Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The soundtrack for the course will consist of the music of Motown, the Staple Singers, Curtis Mayfield, and Rev. James Cleveland.
PhD, University of California Santa Barbara
MDiv, Pacific School of Religion, Berkely C.A.
BA, Fontbonne College