When you think hip-hop usually you think California or New York as the culture hubs for the genre, but now you can travel to Tuscan if you want to study it in school. The University of Arizona has recently added the concentration to its Africana Studies minor program. The decision comes as part of a trend to give serious academic study to the subject.
The curriculum is likely to be a hit with the student body, although the concentration is new the university has offered hip-hop courses for over 8 years. Last spring, a class on hip-hop cinema at the university filled up in a matter of hours. Students then began emailing the teacher in an attempt to add the course.
Here is what interim director of the Africana Studies program Alain-Philippe Durand had to say:
“Rap and hip-hop in general has become super-popular around the world. The main reason for that is that it affects every single discipline and aspects of society. “
He also warned students that this will be no bird course.
“Arizona students hoping for an easy minor of just sitting back and listening to Jay-Z probably shouldn’t enroll”.
The curriculum will go beyond the stereotypical gang and drug cultures to examine the movement’s intersection with politics, marketing, fashion and other academic disciplines.
Durand, author of Black, Blanc, Beur: Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture in the Francophone World, claims the idea of starting a minor in the subject came to him after he noticed that he and his colleagues were quite knowledgeable about hip-hop culture across a plethora of academic disciplines, such as film and music. Durand and his colleagues then made their pitch to university decision-makers, who obliged.
Hopefully more universities follow in the footsteps of the University of Arizona and open up to the idea of hip-hop in their curriculum.
“We break borders in astronomy, and we break borders in hip-hop now.”
Source: LA Times