Planet Rap: Global Hip Hop and Postcolonial Perspectives
In this course we will study the global spread of hip hop music and culture. We will start with the music’s prehistory in Caribbean sound system culture and its birth as an urban culture in the Bronx, the culture’s subsequent spread throughout the US, and its eventual conquering of countries from South Africa, France, and Japan to Algeria, Brazil, the Philippines, Turkey, Germany, the UK, Indonesia, the Ukraine, Senegal, Mexico, and Sweden.
In looking at global hip hop communities we will examine the ways that hip hop culture has provided a political platform and an international network for the resistance of mainstream national cultures and for the expression of minority identities. However, in addition, we will also look at the ways that hip hop is not merely a “resistance vernacular,” but a highly mediatized, globalizing, and potentially commercializing and “Americanizing” force.
At the end of the semester we will have a better understanding of hip hop’s musical structures and the ways that the music—in its global and globalized forms—represents a microcosm of how culture, race, media, and empire function in contemporary societies.
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