Thursday, January 3, 2013

The University of Arizona Has the Nation's First Hip-Hop Minor

Posted By on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 6:02 PM

According to this release from the University of Arizona, they're actually the first school in the country to offer a hip-hop minor.

No, really.

While some might think hip-hop isn’t suitable for serious study, Alain-Philippe Durand, director of Africana Studies, disagrees. For decades, scholars have trained their academic eyes on the music, fashion, street art and dance that express a now global cultural phenomenon. They don’t study hip-hop for its catchy beats. They study it because it’s a river that roars through societies, shaping their cultural and political landscapes as it goes.

For students, that powerful force translates into serious questions. They may analyze the visual symbols in a graffiti mural, but they’re also challenged to think about graffiti in the context of German sociologist Jurgen Habermas’ ideas of public space as a social construct, Durand explains. They may unpack the lyrics of a familiar Jay-Z song, but they also have to consider how religious, ethnic and national identity overlap in the multi-lingual rap “Hamdulillah” (roughly translated from Arabic as “Praise to God”).

For UA undergraduate Gabrielle-Ann Araneta Torres, one of the most memorable assignments from her U.S. and Francophone Hip-Hop Cultures class was critical analysis of movies. “There were some obscure film choices,” she says, “but also some popular ones, like ‘Scarface.’ Looking at hip-hop from an analytic lens was new to me, and I definitely had to reach beyond my usual thought process while completing assignments.”

I'm surprised, really. Not because I think that hip-hop is unsuitable for study (honestly, it's a grand evolution of music and poetry, in my opinion) but because I would have assumed that schools such as North Carolina Central University, which has featured classes taught by hip-hop producer 9th Wonder, would have been among the first to offer such an emphasis.

For more information, see the story by UA here, or take a look at the curriculum here.

[Edited to include omitted portion]

Tags: , , ,

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

Staff Pick

Fanaux: Paintings by Hank Tusinski and Tim Mosman

Recent paintings and drawings by Mosman and Tusinski. Artist reception 5:30-7:30pm, Sept16 at Temple Gallery. Hours: 10-5,… More

@ Temple Gallery Fri., Sept. 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Dec. 31 Temple of Music and Art. 330 S. Scott Ave.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. The Weekly List: 23 Things To Do In The Next 10 Days (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Help This Guy Find His Father's Lost Telescope (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Quick Bites: A Healthy Kind of Bar (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Nine Questions: DJQ (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Quick Bites: Wildcat Fans Unite (and Get Dining Deals) (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation