Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Sandra Sarkela

Committee Member

Antonio de Velasco

Committee Member

M. Allison Graham

Committee Member

Andre Johnson


This dissertation examines and explicates the convergences of conspiracy theory, Islam, terrorism, and hip hop culture in rap group Killarmy's Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars to gain a deeper understanding of knowledge production post 9/11 through a process Liesbet Van Zoonen has labeled I-pistemology. The influences of Five Percent Nation ideology, popular culture, and conspiracy theory impact Killarmy's tools of rhetorical resistance, or what Tricia Rose calls the "hidden transcript" of rap music. Furthermore, Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars was at the center of controversy during the Beltway sniper attacks of 2002 prompting journalists to admonish Five Percent ideology through a process Jack Bratich calls a "conspiracy panic." This dissertation presents a twofold argument: 1) I-pistemology accurately describes the ethos and knowledge base of hip hop culture and 2) Rap music as a mass-marketed commodity of hip hop culture creates a double-bind for subversive politics as the commodity of hip hop is allowed to present images and messages that validate discourses of oppression and marginalization. This dissertation offers a fresh contribution to stagnant sociopolitical discussions of hip hop and provides a new approach for examining the interplay between dominant knowledge institutions, marginalized citizen, and discourses on terror.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.