PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Critical Approaches to Hip-Hop and Religion Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit’s purpose is to provide a space for interdisciplinary, sustained, scholarly reflection and intellectual advancements at the intersections of religion and hip-hop culture. We believe the Unit will assist religious and theological studies to take more seriously hip-hop culture, while expanding the conversation of hip-hop culture beyond a thin analysis of rap music. To these ends, this Unit is marked by an effort to offer critical reflection on the multiplicity of the cultural practices of hip-hop culture. We also see something of value in advancing the field of religious studies through attention to how hip-hop might inform these various disciplines and methods. Understood in this way, scholarly attention to hip-hop will not transform it into a passive object of the scholar’s gaze; rather, through our attention to hip-hop, it also speaks back to the work of the AAR, offering tools by which to advance theory and method in the field.

Call for Papers: 

● The Publics of Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop Publics

● Tupac & West Coast diasporas

● Rap artists and community development empowerment, i.e. Nipsy Hustle, Slim Thug

● Ethnic/racial geographical focus on California in Hip-Hop

● The “religio-racial” public works of Kendrick Lamar

● Public work of Black Islams in Hip-Hop and rap music

● Uses of weed in Hip-Hop cultures, possible topics include but not limited to the following:

○ mediation of spiritual connections;
○ engaging deities in alternate domains;
○ alternative therapeutic uses for creativity, stress relief, and pain management;
○ the West Coast use of weed in rap music;
○ gentrification and commodification of weed;
○ racial disparities in white takeover of weed production;
○ scholarly uses of Hip-Hop in theoretical and methodological approaches;
○ the role of, and connections between, major record labels & the prison industrial complex; and
○ Hip-Hop politics in a Trump era.

We also invite proposals for a possible co-sponsorship with the Religion, Media and Culture Group that address:

● The “digital borderlands” and “the body as media/medium” in the expressive work of Hip-Hop cultures

● Reframing the Identity Game: Intersections of Religion, Media, and Hip-Hop

● How do the intersecting categories of religion, gender, sexuality, class, disability, race/ethnicity, and nationality interact to shape media representations and/or mediated presentations of the self in Hip-Hop culture?

● Stories across Worlds: Transmedia Storytelling in Religion and Hip-Hop - 
The focus is primarily on music videos, films, video games, and multimodal live performances but can also include graphic novels, webisodes, mobile apps, or documentaries on Hip-Hop

● Hip-Hop artists as scholarly workers in public spaces

We also invite proposals for a possible Roundtable discussion where “Author” meets “Critic” to think further about Kendrick Lamar and the public work of making Black meaning, or put otherwise, “K-dotting” the landscape of Black meaning in the work of Kendrick Lamar. We also invite proposals for “Author Meets Critic” for Dr. Daniel White Hodge’s latest volume, Homeland Insecurity: A Hip-Hop Missiology for the Post-Civil Rights Context (IVP Academic 2018).

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
ChairSteering Committee