CfP: Race & Place in Hip-Hop Beyond the US (University of Sussex)

African Studies Association UK’s Biennial Conference – Symposium:
„Race & Place in Hip-Hop Beyond the US“
9-11 September 2014 – University of Sussex
Deadline: 1 April 2014

Hip-hop’s appeal beyond the US has been well documented by recent scholarship and documentaries. Despite the global uptake of hip-hop by a range of musicians, dancers and visual artists, mainstream media tend to focus upon commercial hip-hop from the US almost exclusively.

This panel aims to explore some of the ways in which hip-hop artists beyond the US localise hip-hop in order to present unique aspects of their respective locations. We are particularly concerned with two aspects of global hip-hop in various contexts: how it critically and creatively engages with social inequality and political opposition; how it engages consumer capitalism. In various locales, hip-hop takes on completely different styles, sounds, and media, though the genre maintains a global resonance in how it draws upon portrayal of race and difference – in various forms – as a symbolic tool to link music to critical engagement.

Many kinds of music are dubbed hip-hop, as its localisation includes the adaption and mixing of various musical or artistic traditions and sociolinguistic practices. Indeed the key to hip-hop’s generic identity is not a specific sound, but rather an irreverent style of mixing and matching. This symposium is particularly concerned with artistic and economic agency even in the face of arguments that hip-hop is a sign of US cultural imperialism, a concern not to be taken lightly in light of the US entertainment industry’s success in penetrating global markets.

Should we read diverse communities‘ production of hip-hop beyond the US as evidence of agency, or as evidence of corporate media monopolies‘ global reach? What can an examination of work by hip-hop artists in particularly the Global South tell us about the extent to which relatively marginal artists are able to leverage off the advantages offered by cultural exchanges and digital media, for instance, to present their narratives and experiences on their own terms?

Papers speaking to the following themes will be considered:

  • The case for / against US cultural imperialism in hip-hop
  • Hip-hop activism and agency in Africa
  • Positioning identities through hip-hop aesthetics and / or politics
  • Race and place in hip-hop activism and / or performance
  • Debating translocal practices in hip-hop
  • Multilingualism and identity politics in hip-hop
  • Cultural exchange and diffusion in the age of social media
  • Race, cultural appropriation and intertextuality in global hip-hop
  • Hip-hop, technology and the digital divide
  • Gender, race and class in global hip-hop

If you would like to participate in this symposium, submit your 250-word abstract to Adam Haupt and Carli Coetzee by 1 April 2014: raceplacehiphopasa uk2014[AT]gmail.com.

Please feel free to mail us your queries before making your submission. Journal of African Cultural Studies (JACS) may also consider publishing papers presented at this symposium.

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