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Course Description:

How do history and hip-hop connect? This course explores that question through a study of hip-hop in the U.S. The course will begin with a look at the 1970s Bronx, where hip-hop originated, and will then journey across New York City and the United States, exploring how the beats and breaks of the Bronx evolved into both an artistic genre as well as a political and cultural movement. We will study 1) the social conditions of the 1970s Bronx that enabled the emergence of hip-hop; 2) the 1980s growth of the genre through the commercialization of rap; 3) the early 21st century uses of hip-hop as a vehicle for political organizing, education, community outreach, and entrepreneurialism in cities across the U.S.; 4) the challenge of balancing the political potential of hip-hop against the commercial context of popular arts; and 5) the harnessing of hip-hop by churches and other religious organizations as a vehicle for personal uplift and empowerment.

Students who enroll in this highly interactive class will visit virtual renditions of historic hip-hop sites; participate in conversations with hip-hop artists; listen to and carry out interviews with hip-hop community activists; conduct field based explorations of hip-hop activities in their own communities; analyze connections between hip-hop and race, ethnicity, gender and class; and experiment with creative expression through the writing and podcasting of spoken word poetry.

Prerequisites: Some prior background in U.S. history or political science is recommended

This course fully meets the General Education requirement in American History.

This online course is offered through Online Learning. You can take this as an individual course or as part of an online degree program, with term starts in March, May, September, November and January. View current term offerings and all online courses. Click here to register for online courses.

Other Areas: The Arts | Business, Management & Economics | Community & Human Services | Communications, Humanities & Cultural Studies | Educational Studies | Historical Studies | Human Development | Labor Studies | Nursing | Science, Math & Technology | Social Science
Liberal Study
Upper Level
Credits: 4
Meets General Education Requirement In: American History-Full

Term(s) Offered (Subject to Change) : Spring 1. Spring 2. Fall 1. Fall 2.

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