Pre-College Online Courses
MUSC295P: Global Hip Hop
Eric Charry, professor of music
How can hip hop help us to understand globalization, and how can globalization help us to understand hip hop? Over the past two decades hip hop, in its various facets of rap, deejaying, dance, visual art, fashion, and attitude toward authority, has gradually taken over as a primary medium of expression for youth around the world. Used as mass entertainment, social and political commentary, tool for education and social change, vehicle for artistic expression, and as the core of a cultural movement, hip hop has proven malleable enough to thrive embedded in scores of different languages and cultures around the world and effectively speak to local needs. Yet its local manifestations have also managed to retain their membership in a global hip hop culture.
In this course we will study the global spread of hip hop from an interdisciplinary approach, examining it from cultural, social, musical, linguistic, economic, and technological perspectives. We will first review the rise and dispersion of hip hop culture in the US. Then we will move around the world examining case studies in France, England, the Caribbean, Africa, and Japan. An overriding concern will be the classic paradox, that the global dispersion of hip hop rides on two seemingly opposing waves of authenticity: being true to its origins in contemporary African American urban youth culture; and being true to oneself, that is, representing one’s own locality, concerns, and culture. Studying this dispersion in depth will provide a unique window into the varied impacts of globalization.
Course Syllabus available here.
Visit the class blog for more information about this course.
Eric Charry (ed.). 2012. Hip Hop Africa: New African Music in a Globalizing World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN: 978-0-253-00575-5
To maintain the small seminar experience, enrollment is limited to a maximum of 20 students.
Eric Charry is Professor of Music at Wesleyan University, where he has taught History of Rock and R&B to about 1,000 students over the past decade. He has published widely on African music and jazz, and his most recent book is the edited collection Hip Hop Africa.