Past Features

October 11, 2005 (Vol. 2, No. 3)

From the Streets to the Classroom: Conference Explores Hip-Hop's Global Impact Oct. 21

Hip Hop
While hip-hop may have started in the Bronx over 30 years ago, its roots have since spread globally, influencing everything from art forms to social movements and politics. Over 40 scholars and practitioners will gather on the Lehman campus on Friday, October 21, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a conference that will examine the meaning and significance of hip-hop.

Sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Social Work and the Sociology Club, the conference will provide an opportunity for dialogue between theorists and practitioners. Following the conference, a hip-hop based performance will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Lovinger Theatre. Performers scheduled to date include Aqua Moon, Dr. Goddess and Pandora. This is event is free and open to the community, with a $5 charge for those who wish to attend the breakfast prior to the conference presentations.

"Hip-hop started in the Bronx in the mid-1970s, so we thought it was important to recognize something that began here and has now become a global phenomenon," says Professor Thomas Conroy of the sociology faculty, who organized the conference along with his colleague, Professor Siobhan Brooks.

"I was in college," Professor Conroy explains, "when Grandmaster Flash's rap song 'The Message' came out, and I was slightly older when performers like Public Enemy, KRS-1 and Queen Latifah mixed politics, such as of a radical Afrocentric nationalist bent or of feminism, with music. While politics and popular culture have been around in combination for a long time, I found that hip-hop did so in a way that was particularly compelling and powerful."

The conference will highlight the role of the Bronx in the development of hip-hop; gender relations and hip-hop; and the globalization of an initially neighborhood-based cultural practice. For more information, e-mail Professor Conroy at or Professor Brooks at They may also be reached at (718) 960-8015.

For those who would like to learn more about hip-hop prior to the conference, The City and the Humanities program will sponsor a lecture on Thursday, October 20, by Professors Conroy and Brooks, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in Room B-04 of Carman Hall. This semester, the Office of Campus Life is also offering free hip-hop lessons to the Lehman community every Thursday, from 4-6 p.m., in the APEX Dance studio. The next lesson is also scheduled for October 20.

Following is the conference schedule:

Hip-Hop: From Local to Global

Registration, Breakfast
Time: 9-9:30 a.m.
Where: East Dining Room, Music Building

Opening remarks by Professors Siobhan Brooks and Thomas Conroy, and others
Time: 9:30-10 a.m.
Where: East Dining Room, Music Building

Session I: In the Beginning: Roots of Hip-Hop
Time: 10-11:50 a.m.
Where: Carman Hall, Rooms 237, 239 & 242
Professor Thomas Conroy will serve as moderator.
Topics include: "From Jimmy Carter to Grand Master Flash: The Morrisania Roots of Hip-Hop Culture;" "Cultural Phenomenon of Reggaeton;" "Dead Prezence: Plausible Reunion in the Works of Amiri Baraka and Dead Prez."

"Hip-Hop as Political Movement"
Topics include: "Hip Hop and Education;" "J.U.I.C.E.(Y) Hip-Hop: The use of hip-hop culture for community organizing in Los Angeles;" "Flipping the Script-Social and Political Empowerment through Music;" "The Staying Power of Rap Music;" "Hip-Hop and Education;" "Dignity for Black Leaders in America's Ghetto: The Transformation of Race Man into Thug;" "Politically Oriented Rap Music;" "Cast a Vote, Yo: Targeting the Hip-Hop Generation Through Advertising and Popular Culture during the 2004 Presidential Campaign."

"Hip-Hop and Culture"
Topics include: "New Approaches of Afro-Cuban identity through recent Hip-Hop tendencies in Hip-Hop and culture;" "What Makes an Emcee Dope: Rethinking Authenticity in One Element of Hip-Hop Culture;" "Nobody Lives in that House: Anxiety and Rupture in Black Performance;" "Eminem, Rocky, and the American Dream;" "Cultural Production."

Lunch 12-1 p.m.

Session II: Feminism, Sexuality and Hip-Hop
Time: 1-5 p.m.
Where: Carman Hall, Rooms 237, 239 & 242
Topics include: "Black Women, Hip-Hop, and Controlling Images;" "Hip-Hop and the Portrayal of Black Women in Videos;" "Missy Elliott and Feminism;" "Sisters Goin' Work it Out: Gender, Urban Empowerment;" "What is She Doing Anyway? Wendy Williams' Queer Hip-Hop Experience;" "Struggles in the Lives of Black Cuban Women."

"Hip-Hop and Identity"
Topics include: "Gay Male Rappers and Identity;" "What I am: Hip Hop and Multi-raciality;" "You Wanna Battle? Negotiating Respect and Local Rrules in the Emcee Cipher;" "Sharing Hip-Hop Space: The Case of Nigerians and African Americans;" "Claimin' True': Black Authenticity in Rap Music;"

Session III: Race and Hip-Hop
Time: 3-4 p.m.
Where: Carman Hall, Rooms 237, 239 & 242
"Another White Boy: Hip-Hop as Class Project;" "Time to 'Learn Chinese? Asian American Rap;" "Radical Chic: British Asian Rap;" "Cuban-American Hip-Hop;" "White Sight or White Hype: White Involvement in Hip Hop;" "Afro-Cuban Identity;" "Barbie Breakdances: White Girls and Hip-Hop in the 'Burbs;"

"Consumerism and Hip-Hop"
Topics include: "Behind Bling Bing;" "Who's Pimping Who? The Emcee, the Record Industrial;" "The Social Consumption of Rap Music;" "From Little Gods, to Gangstas: The Commodification of Faith and Black Liberation in Hip Hop Culture (1979-1999)"

Session IV: Art and Hip-Hop
Time: 5-5:50 p.m.
Where: Carman Hall, Rooms 237, 239 & 242
Topics include: "Visual Sociology Project on Hip-Hop;" "Graffitti and Hip-Hop Movement;" "Bombing vs. Branding: The Battle to Represent New York City in the Era of the 1970s Fiscal Crisis;" "Commodification and Global Youth Culture in Sanford Bigger's Art."

Hip-Hop Performances
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Where: Lovinger Theatre