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Hip-Hop Trails: Tracing and Rediscovering the Origins and Legacy of Hip-Hop Culture

Semester and Year SP 2015
Course Number CLI-UG1436
Section 001
Instructor Martha Diaz
Days R
Time 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Units 4
Level U



There is no doubt that Hip-Hop is ubiquitous through radio and television commercials, music videos, films, magazines, billboards, and video games. However, the Hip-Hop we see today is not the same Hip-Hop that we saw when early pioneers formed a distinct sub-culture (encompassing MCing, Beatboxing, DJing, bboying, and graffiti) to speak to the experiences of disenfranchised youth across the world. Commercialization has created two kinds of Hip-Hop: one is focused on the community and connected to a long legacy and history of Black/Caribbean experience, and a second focused on individualism and celebrating instant gratification, funded by big corporations to sell brands and consumption as a lifestyle. What determining factors caused this evolution and what does it mean? This course tracks Hip-Hop’s history and its influences through participatory action research, media literacy, archiving, and service learning. Students will research, analyze, interpret, chronicle, and sample Hip-Hop by organizing and curating a Hip-Hop project. We will visit Hip-Hop archives, landmarks and organizations, and hear first-hand accounts from Hip-Hop pioneers and leaders. Books include: Yes, Yes Ya’ll  by Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn, Born To Use Mics by Michael Eric Dyson and Sohail Daulatzai, The Tanning of America by Steve Stoute, and The Big Payback by Dan Charnas.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Community Learning Courses (CLI-UG)