Friday, March 30, 2012

Hip Hop Comes to Yale Law School

Hip hop has made it to the hallowed halls of the Ivy League. Recently at Yale Law School artists and legal scholars collaborated on a panel to discuss hip hop and corporate influence. Akilah Folami (Hofstra), Bret Asbury (Drexel), Jasiri X, and Paradise Gray spoke of far ranging topics from misogyny to corporatization, marketing to social justice.

This panel's placement at Yale Law School should serve as a harbinger for the hip hop and the law movement. It clearly represents a strong interest by both scholars and artists to engage the law in new ways. Five or ten years ago, would we have seen such a panel? Not likely. Read the story from the Yale Daily news here.

Photo: Jennifer Cheung, Yale Daily News

-- Nick J. Sciullo

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Alexander on Hip Hop and Housing

Professor Lisa Alexander at the Wisconsin Law School has just published a very interesting article in the UC Hastings Law Review entitled "Hip Hop and Housing: Revisiting Culture, Urban Space, Power, and Law." In this article, Professor Alexander examines the concept of "cultural collective efficacy" and its impact on inner city communities. The abstract for her work follows:

U.S. housing law is finally receiving its due attention. Scholars and practitioners are focused primarily on the subprime mortgage and foreclosure crises. Yet the current recession has also resurrected the debate about the efficacy of place-based lawmaking. Place-based laws direct economic resources to low-income neighborhoods to help existing residents remain in place and to improve those areas. Law-and-economists and staunch integrationists attack place-based lawmaking on economic and social grounds. This Article examines the efficacy of place-based lawmaking through the underutilized prism of culture. Using a sociolegal approach, it develops a theory of cultural collective efficacy as a justification for place-based lawmaking. Cultural collective efficacy describes positive social networks that inner-city residents develop through participation in musical, artistic, and other neighborhood-based cultural endeavors. This Article analyzes two examples of cultural collective efficacy: the early development of hip-hop in the Bronx and community murals developed by Mexican immigrants in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. These examples show that cultural collective efficacy can help inner-city residents mitigate the negative effects of living in a poor and segregated community and obtain more concrete benefits from urban revitalization in their communities. Cultural collective efficacy also provides a framework to examine important microdynamics in the inner-city that scholars and policymakers have ignored. Lastly, this Article devises new combinations of place-based laws that might protect cultural collective efficacy, such as: (1) historic districts with affordable housing protections secured through transferable development rights, (2) foreclosure prevention strategies, (3) techniques to mitigate eminent domain abuse, and (4) reinterpretations of the Fair Housing Act’s “affirmatively furthering” fair housing mandate. These examples of place-based lawmaking may more effectively promote equitable development and advance distributive justice in U.S. housing law and policy.

Check the article out here.