Beats, Rhymes, and Life: Hip-Hop Studies
This course is an introduction to the study of hip-hop, divided into three sections. During the first few weeks, students learn about the history of hip-hop as a social movement and art form comprised of four elements: DJing, MCing, break dancing, and graffiti art. Once a common understanding of hip-hop's genesis and history is established, we turn our attention to how hip-hop is studied in the academy. This second section of the course features a wide range of studies of hip-hop music and culture, in order to demonstrate the different methodological and theoretical frames used in hip-hop scholarship. During the final few weeks of class, we focus on hip-hop-related debates and discussions in popular culture, such as racial authenticity and non-black consumption of hip-hop, use of the words "nigger/nigga," and "bitch," global and international hip-hop, and sexism and gender scripts. While there will be overlap and intersection between the three phases of the class, the main purpose of the course is to expose students to the diversity of hip-hop scholarship, and improve their understandings of the connections between theory, method, and substantive topic in hip-hop studies.