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.
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Critical Approaches to Hip-Hop and Religion Unit
Call for Proposals
In 2021 the Critical Approaches to Hip Hop & Religion Unit is moving one panels from 2020’s pre-COVID program to this year’s programming (ALLAH: Hip Hop, the Five Percenters, and Esoteric Constructions of Meaning). That said, we still have space for multiple panels and are calling for co-sponsorships with Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society and Religion, Media, & Culture units:
Race, Religion, and Rap in the Digital Age.
Women Still Run This Thing! Hip Hop, Womanism, and Collective Meaning-Making
Far too often the hypermasculine male is the trope that commercial Hip Hop puts out as “Hip Hop.” As scholars in the field of Hip Hop Studies and Womanist Thought, we know this is not true. Women play an influential role in Hip Hop Culture; principally as it pertains to the social constructs of sexual orientation, gender constructs, race, and social issues. This year, we invite papers for a co-sponsorship between the Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society and Critical Approaches Religion and Hip Hop. Topics can include, but certainly not limited to:
· Hip Hop womanism
· Hood womanism
· Verzus and Cancel Culture
· Meg Thee Stallion and #ProtectBlackWomen
· Hip Hop of the South
· WAP and politics of sexuality (Cardi B, Meg Thee Stallion)
· Women in Hip Hop & their historical contributions (Missy Elliott, Nikki Minaj, No Name, Rhapsody, etc.)
· Women & their role in activism & politics within the hip hop culture
· The construct of “male sponsorship” for entry into rap music
· Does rap music hate women?
· The gendered & social discourse of “Bitch”
· Hip Hop & #MeToo
· Women in Hip Hop & Digital Technocultures
Open Call. We welcome any and all proposals that are not specifically mentioned in the call for papers and we are specifically interested in topics and theoretical insights from outside North America.
We are also calling for proposals from the following areas:
• Hip Hop & politics in the era of #45
• The 30-year anniversary of the Golden Era of Hip Hop
• Hip Hop Studies in Higher Education: call for pedagogy and best practice
• Texas’ role in the Hip Hop Canon and the products of Southern Rap
• Religion within the beat: music production and its transcendent rhetoric
• Is the Culture still committed to social change and social equity or is money, social media platforms, & followers the new social capital?
We also welcome proposals and panels that are not listed here and encourage those from a non-Western/ North American perspective to submit their work.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Charrise Barron, Brown University1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Yasmina Burezah, University of Bonn1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Elonda Clay, Vrije University Amsterdam1/1/2017 - 12/31/2022
Erika Gault, University of Arizona1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Justin Smith, Azusa Pacific University1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025