Week 1 –  Step in the Arena; Hip-Hop History: Street Art

M 1/31

W 2/2

  • Craig Castleman, ‘The Politics of Graffiti’, in Forman and Neal (2012); also available in Forman and Neal (2004)
  • Video: Style Wars (Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver, 1983). The seminal documentary of graffiti and b-boying’, writes Jeff Chang in one of our upcoming texts (‘Zulus on a Time Bomb’). You should be able to view this film for free on, but if there’s a problem, here’s a link that’s currently working on YouTube. We’ll screen this together in class, but make sure you review it later at home, too.

Week 2 – Hip-Hop History: DJing and MCing

M 2/7

W 2/9

  • Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton, ‘Hip-Hop: Planet Rock’, in Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey (Grove Press, 2006)

Week 3 – Hip-Hop History:  Dance

M 2/14 

  • Michael Holman, ‘Breaking: The History’, in Forman and Neal (2004)

W 2/16 

  • Jeff Chang, ‘Zulus on a Time Bomb: Hip-Hop Meets the Rockers Downtown’, in Forman and Neal (2012)

Week 4 –  Hip-Hop Historiography


W 2/23

Week 5 – Writing and the Rhetoric of Hip-Hop/Authenticity

M 2/28

W 3/2

Week 6 – Authenticity (cont’d); Globalisation vs. the Hip-Hop International

M 3/7

W 3/9

Week 7 – Hip-Hop’s Urban Geography I: ATLANTA

M 3/14

W 3/16

Week 8 – Hip-Hop’s Urban Geography II: HOUSTON

M 3/21

  • Andrew Nosnitsky, ‘Gray Matters’, Pitchfork (4 March 2013). On the legacy of Houston’s DJ Screw– possibly the most influential hip-hop DJ of this century– and how his impact goes way beyond simply slowing things down.

W 3/23

Week 9 –Hip-Hop’s Urban Geography III: CHICAGO

M 3/28

W 3/30

Week 10 – Gender Politics 

M 4/4

  • Tricia Rose, ‘Never Trust a Big Butt and a Smile’, in Forman and Neal (2004)

W 4/6

Week 11 – The Politics of Sexuality

M 4/11

  • Andreana Clay, ‘I Used to Be Scared of the Dick: Queer Women of Color and Hip-Hop Masculinity’, in Forman and Neal (2012)

W 4/13

  • Michael Eric Dyson and Byron Hurt, ‘ “Cover Your Eyes As I Describe a Scene So Violent”: Violence, Machismo, Sexism, and Homophobia’, in Forman and Neal (2012)
  • Marc Lamont Hill, ‘Scared Straight: Hip-Hop, Outing, and the Pedagogy of Queerness’, in Forman and Neal (2012)




Week 13 – The Technology of Hip-Hop DJing and Music Production I

M 4/25

  • Walter Benjamin, ‘Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit [The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibility]’ (1936)

W 4/27

  • Martin Heidegger, ‘Die Frage nach der Technik [The Question Concerning Technology]’ (1949?)

Week 14 – The Technology of Hip-Hop DJing and Music Production II

M 5/2

W 5/4

  • Michail Exarchos, ‘Boom Bap Ex Machina: Hip-Hop Aesthetics and the Akai MPC’, in Russ Hepworth-Sawyer, Jay Hodgson, and Mark Marrington, eds., Producing Music (Routledge, 2019)

Week 15 – Sampling (cont’d); ‘Don’t ask me if I write rhymes/I write checks’: Hip-Hop, Commodification, and the Culture Industries

M 5/9


W 5/11

Week 16 – Hip-Hop, Commodification, and the Culture Industries (cont’d)

M 5/16

Final Exam Period/Conclusions

M 5/23 (note: 3:30pm-5:30pm)


Forman, Murray, and Mark Anthony Neal. 2004. That’s the Joint! The Hip-Hop Studies Reader, 2nd Ed. New York: Routledge.