African American Museum in Boston

African American Museum in Boston
The Museum of Afro-American History in Boston, Massachusetts (2014)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hip Hop Conference at UC Riverside

UC Riverside Department of Dance, Department Theatre, Film & Digital Production,

the Center for Ideas & Society, & the UC Humanities Research Institute invite proposals for:


Show & Prove 2016 (S&P16) Hip Hop Studies Conference:  CALL FOR PAPERS/PANELS/PERFORMANCES/WORKSHOPS

Department of Dance, UC Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA  92507

April 8-10, 2016

Key Words:  performance, spirit

The "Show & Prove" series is dedicated to being a platform for scholars across the humanities and human sciences, Hip Hop artists and practitioners, community members, and students to interact, share work, and to collectively develop the field of Hip Hop Studies.  S&P16 is an interdisciplinary conference at which all of those who work on Hip Hop in disparate fields may speak to one another face-to-face, and help move each others' efforts forward.  Collectively we strive to better understand the nature of doing work on Hip Hop and the expanse of ways that Hip Hop speaks to the world.

The 2016 conference is focused on two key themes:  spirit and performance.  These keywords act as signposts around which we will convene.  On their own, each term speaks to a broad range of analytical possibilities.  "Spirit" entails notions of spirituality, the heart and soul of a culture, or its ideological core.  Yet there is also an easy slippage into limiting notions of essence, authenticity, and the real.  "Performance" has the obvious connotation of cultural production within Hip Hop, sometimes referred to as "the elements" (with DJing, MCing, graffiti art, and b-boying as the baseline).  Scholarship alerts us to the dimensions of "performance" that are also about performativity and the performance of everyday life-i.e. the ways that we enact identities, or that we deploy strategies of self-presentation.  "Performance" and "spirit" can also overlap in interesting ways:  e.g., people may perform reality or authenticity, both in the sense of an enactment on stage or as means of establishing one's own legitimacy.  S&P16 invites you to conjure up the possibilities of these themes.

 Some questions we might consider include:

  • What is the heart of Hip Hop?
  • How do performance and performativity converge in Hip Hop?
  • Does authenticity still matter?
  • Is resistance part of the spirit of Hip Hop?  To what end?  What does it look like in practice?
  • What does Hip Hop's spiritual expression look/sound/feel like?
  • How do we deploy heart, soul, and love for and through Hip Hop?
  • How does performance create new possibilities for being in the world?
  • Where can doing Hip Hop and thinking Hip Hop intersect?
  • Can Hip Hop teach us about our current socio-political terrain?
  • How is Hip Hop deployed for social justice?
  • What is at the "center" of Hip Hop?  Can we de-center Hip Hop?  Do we need a center?
  • How is Hip Hop as we know it challenged, critiqued, made possible, or destabilized by performances of Hip Hop?
In honor of the conference's relocation to UC Riverside's Department of Dance, we will feature performances-including theatrical pieces and dance classes.  S&P16 will also feature a special panel of undergraduate work, demonstrating the future of Hip Hop Studies.

Please submit a 300-word proposal for a paper, workshop, performance, film, or panel to Dr. Imani Kai Johnson at by August 15, 2015.  All proposals should specify space or A/V needs, and include name and contact information (please do not send CVs).  Panel proposals should include additional 200 word descriptions of papers.  Proposals for performances or films should specify the length of the piece, format, and its relation to the conference keywords.  Undergraduate paper proposals should be from current undergrads, and include a proposed faculty mentor who can serve as a guide in the process of preparing to present at a conference.  Notices indicating the acceptance of your submission will be sent by September 15, 2015.

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