Call for Papers: Show & Prove 2016 Hip Hop Studies Conference, April 8-10, 2016

Shout-out to Dr. Imani Kai Johnson, chair of the “Show & Prove” international Hip Hop Studies conferences. The conference previously held at NYU will take place at Dr. Johnson’s new home at University of California, Riverside from April 8-10, 2016. The proposal submission deadline was August 15, 2015.

“Show & Prove” Hip Hop Studies Conference is dedicated to being a platform for scholars from around the world who do focused work on Hip Hop culture. As one of a few ongoing conferences specifically geared toward Hip Hop, “Show & Prove” has become a site for the most cutting edge research precisely because it builds on Hip Hop’s own cultural imperatives. “Show and prove” is the Hip Hop ethos of action over words, or the demonstration of skills over merely talking about them. Thus this conference not only provides an opportunity for us to be in dialogue with each other, but with a knowing and eager public as well, representing the multiple communities to whom we are responsible. “Show & Prove” brings together established scholars, junior faculty, graduate students, and undergrads alongside practitioners, and community members who all have a stake in what Hip Hop Studies becomes. Collectively we strive to better understand the nature of doing work on Hip Hop and the expanse of ways that Hip Hop speaks to the world. This year’s conference will sharpen its focus on two key themes: spirit and performance.

Call for Papers: Now Open
The 2016 conference is focused on two key themes: spirit and performance. These keywords act as signposts around which we will convene. On their own, each term speaks to a broad range of analytical possibilities. “Spirit” entails notions of spirituality, the heart and soul of a culture, or its ideological core. Yet there is also an easy slippage into limiting notions of essence, authenticity, and the real. “Performance” has the obvious connotation of cultural production within Hip Hop, sometimes referred to as “the elements” (with DJing, MCing, graffiti art, and b-boying as the baseline). Scholarship alerts us to the dimensions of “performance” that are also about performativity and the performance of everyday life—i.e. the ways that we enact identities, or that we deploy strategies of selfpresentation. “Performance” and “spirit” can also overlap in interesting ways: e.g., people may perform reality or authenticity, both in the sense of an enactment on stage or as means of establishing one’s own legitimacy. S&P16 invites you to conjure up the possibilities of these themes.

Some questions we might consider include:

  • What is the heart of Hip Hop?
  • How do performance and performativity converge in Hip Hop?
  • Does authenticity still matter?
  • Is resistance part of the spirit of Hip Hop? To what end? What does it look like in practice?
  • What does Hip Hop’s spiritual expression look/sound/feel like?
  • How do we deploy heart, soul, and love for and through Hip Hop?
  • How does performance create new possibilities for being in the world?
  • Where can doing Hip Hop and thinking Hip Hop intersect?
  • Can Hip Hop teach us about our current socio-political terrain?
  • How is Hip Hop deployed for social justice?
  • What is at the “center” of Hip Hop? Can we de-center Hip Hop? Do we need a center?
  • How is Hip Hop as we know it challenged, critiqued, made possible, or destabilized by

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