Agha Saadaf investigates the relationship between fascist ideology and 1990’s Norwegian black metal music in U of T’s Undergraduate Sociology Journal

Agha Saadaf published an article entitled “Dawn of the Black Hearts: Contextualising Fascism in Second Wave Norwegian Black Metal” in the third volume of the Undergraduate Sociology Journal (USJ). His work explores the historical context of Norwegian cultural power dynamics, the use of music to reflect political ideas, and the “lifestyle” perpetuated by prominent figures in the black metal community. Agha outlines the parallels between the subgenre culture and fascism beginning with a common fixation on strength, hierarchy, superiority, and violence. He then examines how the particular religious and cultural history of Norway and the tension between marginalized pagan traditions and the more historically recent proliferation of Christianity has become a cultural site for some in the Norwegian black metal community to justify both a “myth of ethnic or national renewal” and a desire for an exclusively white “pagan” nation. Finally, Agha explores how these ideologies that find fertile ground in both fans and creators of Norwegian black metal reach wider audiences by using the social and cultural role of music itself as a conduit.

Agha Saadaf is a 5th Year Socio-Cultural Anthropology Specialist, having written this piece in his 3rd year for “Anthropology of Youth Culture”, a course taught by Professor Marcel Danesi. He has been an editor for the Anthropology Undergraduate Journal for 2 years, having served as Editor-In-Chief in 2019-2020. As hobbies, he enjoys playing video games, weightlifting, and exploring a highly varies range of music (he does not only listen to Norwegian Black Metal). Having taken a variety courses on medical anthropology, anthropological insights on political-economy, and environmental anthropology, he now hopes to pursue a law degree to better understand the socio-political ramifications of technological innovations such as AI and biotechnology through a legal scope.

Read Agha’s full article in Volume 3 of the USJ here