SEMINAR PROFILE

A04 - 
An Urban American Musical Literature: Studying, Hearing, and Questioning Rap
   
  In this two-day class we will examine the composition, history, politics, and musical and literary techniques of Rap music and hip-hop culture. As a global musical and literary genre emerging from-and transcending-urban decay and defiance, rap has provided a continuing, often-virtuoso, soundtrack for the story of African American politics, foregrounding issues of race, gender, power, and community. Like Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, and Funk- all genres to which it is indebted-Rap is an American musical development of global reach, which through its flexible musico-poetic style, its challenging themes, and powerful oratory, continues to define America's politics and reshape its literary canon. In this course, teachers will gain experience in employing rap as both a lens and a tool to examine contemporary American history, music, literature, and culture. We will braid the various strands of Rap's origins, examine a core repertory of around 50 songs/albums as case analytical studies, and work together to develop methods to teach this repertory. Beginning with its origins in the house-party milieu of the projects in Compton and the Bronx and continuing through the classic Rap repertory of 1995-2010, the class will conclude with how Rap defined and enabled the Obama Administration, its academic validation (using the DuBois Center at Harvard as an example), its role in redefining the figure of Alexander Hamilton, and the recent Pulitzer Prize-winning work of Kendrick Lamar.
       
   
Scholar:
 
Location:
Harvard University
   
Dates:
11/7/2018, 11/16/2018