Friday, April 27, 2012

Gaines on Stevie Wonder and the Civil Rights Movement

I just came across an interesting article published last year by Kevin Gaines (University of Michigan - Department of American Studies) in the Japanese Journal of American Studies.  His article, Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life and the “Long Civil Rights Movement”, was published in the 22nd edition in 2011.  Here is the first paragraph of the essay:

Stevie Wonder’s 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life is an enduring masterpiece of popular music that reflects what U.S. historians have recently called the “long civil rights movement.”  That concept, as Jacquelyn Hall and others have argued, challenges the master narrative of a “short” civil rights movement beginning with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision and ending by the mid-1960s with the passage of federal civil and voting rights legislation.  More important, for Hall the “long civil rights movement” is a corrective against distortions of the movement’s meaning and legacy that have developed over the last generation.  Perhaps the most common of such distortions is the appropriation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of a color-blind America by conservative opponents of civil rights.  King’s little-remembered words of 1967 are just as relevant for our time as they were when he wrote them: “We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing’– oriented society to a ‘person’–oriented society.  When machines and computers, profit motive and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.  A civilization can flounder as readily in the face of moral and spiritual bankruptcy as it can through financial bankruptcy.”  Americans often forget that Dr. King was once reviled by a majority of his fellow citizens for his unpopular stand in opposition to the war in Vietnam and his advocacy of economic justice.

-- Nick J. Sciullo

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fink on Hip-Hop and Islam

Steven Fink has published an interesting piece in the Journal of Religion and Society entitled, "For the Best of All Listeners: American Islamic Hip Hop as Reminder."  The article is here.  The abstract is below:

This article analyzes lyrics of American Islamic hip hop songs that address views of Muslims as threats to American society as well as negative views of Muslim women.  As an alternative to these views, hip hop artists remind Muslim listeners of the Qur’anic principle that they are the best of all peoples, so listeners will define themselves according to this principle and therefore persevere in Islamic faith.  Musicological analysis follows this lyrical analysis, revealing a shared temporal structure both lyrically and musically, which strengthens these songs’ lyrical reminder.

Photo Credits: UW-Eau Claire.

-- Nick J. Sciullo

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

CFP: Tupac Amaru Shakur Collection Conference: “Hip Hop, Education, and Expanding the Archival Imagination”

Tupac Amaru Shakur Collection Conference: “Hip Hop, Education, and Expanding the Archival Imagination”

Submission Deadline: April 23, 2012

Meeting: September 28-29, 2012 Atlanta, GA

The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library and the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation (TASF) present the first annual Tupac Amaru Shakur Collection Conference: “Hip Hop, Education, and Expanding the Archival Imagination.” In the fifteen years since Shakur’s passing, the TASF has continued to cultivate the legacy and sociocultural impact of his life and works. As part of this effort, the TASF and Shakur Estate partnered with the AUC Woodruff Library to collect and curate the papers, letters, images, and other archival materials of the hip hop artist. In 2011, The Tupac Amaru Shakur Collection, housed at the Library, was opened to the public to promote scholarship and research of a multi-dimensional artist who helped define a musical genre.
To commemorate the opening of the historic collection, this two-day academic conference will convene scholars, educators, and students to present papers on themes related to the life and works of Tupac Shakur, education, and Hip Hop culture more broadly. The following are some suggested (but not required) sub-topics:

• Tupac and education, pedagogy, and/or epistemology
• Hip Hop in college curriculum
• Hip Hop Studies and authorship (i.e. who counts as an author?)
• What counts as an archive? How do we preserve Hip Hop culture?
• Hip Hop as literary genre (autobiography, drama, poetry, etc).
• Hip Hop as history
• Hip Hop and information literacy
• Scholar Advocacy for Hip Hop archives
• Archivists as partners in teaching, learning, and scholarship of Hip Hop Studies

Submission of paper abstracts should be approximately 300 words. Panel proposals (of either 3 or 4 papers per panel) should be approximately 500 words. All proposals should address the themes of this year’s conference “Hip Hop, Education, and Expanding the Archival Imagination” and include presenters’ institutional affiliations, a 50-word biography, and appropriate email address. Please e-mail all proposals to by April 23, 2012. Accepted papers and panels will be announced by/on June 15, 2012, and the conference will take place on September 28-29, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chuck D - Hip Hop and the Law

(Photo by Tom Sheehan)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pay for Play: NCAA Athletics as Opportunity or Exploitation?

At the intersection of NCAA Athletics and hip hop is the question of whether athletes of color are exploited by the NCAA and the Universities that recruit the athletes to play for and represent them. To that question, the West Virginia University College of Law Sports & Entertainment Law Society is proud to present a panel presentation entitled "Pay for Play: NCAA Athletics as Opportunity or Exploitation?" on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, at 12 noon in the Marlyn Lugar Courtroom, in beautiful Morgantown, West Virginia.

The event is free and open to the general public. The panel features Ramogi Huma (President, National College Player's Association), Mike Parsons (Deputy Athletic Director, West Virginia University), Dan Fulks (Professor at Translyvania University and NCAA Research Consultant), and andré douglas pond cummings (Professor of Law, West Virginia University College of Law).