Allen University Hip Hop Studies Conference

Chic Smith's picture
Call for Papers
March 3, 2017
South Carolina, United States
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Theatre & Performance History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, Popular Culture Studies

The music, language, dance, art, and fashion that constitute hip-hop culture have often been celebrated as a means for giving voice to marginalized people in the US and around the world. Hip hop, in short, is often conceived as a potential vehicle for achieving social justice in a world riven by racism, sexism, classism and other forms of oppression. It is perhaps just as frequently condemned for perpetuating dysfunctional values and harmful stereotypes that impede efforts to achieve a more just and equitable society.
Spirituality has played an important role in numerous social justice movements throughout history, and the socially conscious purpose that many attribute to hip hop has likewise been influenced by a strong undercurrent of spirituality. The influence of various faiths and spiritual aesthetics—gospel music, Five-Percenter ideology, Afrofuturism, and Christianity, to name but a few examples—can be felt most anywhere in hip hop, inspiring not only the lyricism of numerous conscious rappers but also hit songs by platinum selling artists from MC Hammer to Kanye West.
The third annual Hip Hop Studies Conference at Allen University invites proposals for presentations on research projects that focus on hip hop’s engagement with these interrelated questions of spirituality and social justice.
Students from any discipline are encouraged to apply. Presentations dealing with the conference theme will be given priority, but all proposals will be considered. Some suggested topics include:

  • origins and precursors of hip hop
  • multicultural influences on the development of hip hop
  • commercialization and “death” of hip hop
  • gender and sexuality in hip hop
  • violence in hip hop
  • hip hop and law enforcement
  • graffiti and street art
  • hip hop and politics
  • hip hop and war
  • global hip hop
  • rap regionalism
  • hip hop and prisons
  • hip hop in education

Please send a 250-word abstract to or by March 3, 2017. Proposals for pre-formed panels or individual presentations are both welcome. Panels involving performance and proposals for posters or art works to be displayed at the conference are also welcome.

Contact Info: 

For more information call Dr. K. Trumpeter at 803-255-4782 or email Dr. C. Smith at

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