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Rise of Hip-Hop Studies in the US

by Ash Sharma
5 Apr 2007 • Comment (0) • Print
Posted: General Issue [0] | Commons

Hip-Hop has emerged as a serious area of study in the US. This article in the San Francisco Chronicle – ACADEMIC HIP-HOP? YES, YES Y’ALL by Reyhan Harmanci gives a useful overview of the rise of Hip-Hop studies in the academy.

In contrast, in the UK it has been difficult to establish black studies programmes, with the consequence that the study of race and the politics of culture continues to be a minor element in media and cultural studies, sociology and popular music degrees. The increasing literature and debate on Hip-Hop culture offers a complex understanding of race, class and commercial culture in a US context. While Britain is usually presented positively as not mired in US-style essentialist ‘race talk’, the consequence of ignoring the autonomy of popular black culture has been the relative marginalisation of everyday urban experiences from the white academy. This problematic situation in the UK is one telling sign of the continual lack of black academics and anti-racist political culture in higher education. The US academic situation is no utopia in terms of race but it offers the possibility of in-depth study of race and popular culture which I would argue is just not available in UK. Worse it is not even considered an issue.

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Ash Sharma is the co-editor of darkmatter. He teaches at the University of East London, UK and is a member of the Black Study Group (London). He blogs at tabula rasa and co-edits the writing zine Southern Discomfort . Re-imagining (sub)urban space at http://burncroydon.tumblr.com/. twitter: @ashdisorient He is completing a book on race and visual culture.
All posts by: Ash Sharma | Email | Website

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