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Critical Approaches to Hip-Hop and Religion Unit

Call for Proposals

30 Years On: Assessing and Reassessing the Golden Age of Hip-Hop (1986-1993)

While designations for a supposed “Golden Era” of Hip Hop culture are contested, a timeframe covering roughly the years 1986-1993 (perhaps as far as 1996) is broadly accepted (Dyson, Know What I Mean?: Reflections on Hip-Hop) as having been a salient period for the development of what comes to be galvanized in the popular imagination as “hip hop culture.” Many hip hop commentators understand this period as the high-water mark for Hip-Hop culture and activism, while others treat the notion of a “Golden Age” as a theoretical fiction. Is the recognition of the rarified air of the Golden Era a reality or is it the product of nostalgia and community memory? Moreover, is there legitimate criticism to be leveled at that era, especially as it relates to being an important bridgepoint to the current era of Hip-Hop Culture? We seek paper and panel proposals that interrogate (as well as celebrate) the Golden Era of Hip-Hop while assessing and addressing the various uses of the past in hip hop and explore the stakes associated with claiming and framing ephemeral moments in/as culture. Some of the possible directions submitters may go involve asking questions related to the Culture’s commitment to social change and social equity? Is one of the legacies of the Golden Era that of the pursuit of financial gain and the gain of social currency, albeit in new and ever-changing forms (social media/followers, etc.)? Of significant interest here would be the intersections of religion, social movements, and social justice as well as explorations of Hip-Hop Culture that might include but move beyond a lyrical analysis.


Author Meets Critics: Jennifer M. Buck’s, Bad and Boujee (Cascade, 2022) (Co-sponsored between the Critical Approaches to Hip-Hop and Religion and the Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Units)

We seek papers that debate and discuss Jennifer M. Buck’s Bad and Boujee (Cascade, 2022). Buck’s text engages with the overlap of black experience, hip-hop music, ethics, and feminism to focus on a subsection known as “trap feminism” and constructs a Trap Feminist Theology. Interacting with concepts of moral agency, resistance, and imagination, Trap Feminist Theology seeks to build an intersectional theology emphasizing women’s agency in their bodies and sexuality while also remaining faithful to the “trap” context from which they are socially located. The publication of this work creates opportunities for fresh engagement with questions pertaining to the intersections of Womanist theology, feminism/feminist theology, economics, Hip Hop, and religion.


Postcolonial Perspectives on Religion and Hip-Hop (Co-sponsored session with the Religion, Colonialism, and Postcolonialism Unit)

We are looking for papers making use of postcolonial theories for an analysis of Religion and Hip-Hop, with a particular interest in Hip-Hop as "diasporic lingua franca" (Fatima El-Tayeb) for dispossessed and marginalized communities and as a tool for de-/anticolonial activism.


We also welcome paper and panel proposals for subjects and discourses not addressed here and encourage those from a non-Western/North American perspective to submit their work.

Statement of Purpose


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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