The Poetics & Politics of Hip-Hop Cultures

February 7-8, 2013 at the University of Arizona

Hip-hop is understood as a culture that includes many forms of expression: dance, rap music (emceeing and DJing), slam poetry, fashion, film, and graffiti art. Since its beginning in the Bronx in the 1970s, hip-hop has not only become such a ubiquitous cultural expression but also turned out to be a phenomenal cultural force that has influenced and managed to shape local, national, regional, and global issues.

Hip Hop culture has become an all-pervasive key component of contemporary society, culture, and identity, which warrants serious academic inquiry. As early as the late 1980s, scholars have started to pay close attention to the emergence and growing notoriety of hip-hop culture in the United States and abroad. The fact that hip-hop came from the streets, that it was rejected at first by powerful media and was brought up by minorities played and continue to play a major role in understanding the identification of a big part of the world population with hip-hop culture and the human values and themes it represents: appropriation and defense of spaces, mixing of different cultures, migrations, multilingualism, race, class, gender, religions, sexuality, nationality, politics and the economy, and, the search for identity.

Thus, as researchers and educators, our view of hip-hop culture goes beyond the stereotypical gangster and drug cultures to incorporate this expressive medium's relationships and presences across different academic disciplines such as art, music, dance, language/poetry, religion, gender, culture, history, politics, marketing, fashion, sociology, management as well as film, radio, television and performance studies. Besides its commercial clout, hip-hop's role in challenging stereotypes, destabilizing and unsettling the meaning of blackness and bridging cultural divides in the USA and abroad, merits a place in serious academic discussions of how contemporary societies function.

The Poetics & Politics of Hip-Hop Cultures Symposium will take place at the University of Arizona from February 7-8, 2013. Visit our Program page for a schedule of events and speakers. Registration is free and open to the public.