Justin D. Burton and Jason Lee Oakes Seek Essays that Pay Respect to Hip Hop Scholarship

Edited by Justin D Burton and Jason Lee Oakes

Abstracts (400 words): 1 October 2015

Chapter Drafts (5k-7k words): 1 March 2016
Final Drafts: 1 June 2016

The overall goal of the Oxford Handbook series is to “advance an original conception of a given field through a definitive set of essays.” This entry in the Handbook series will aspire to be definitive not in terms of being exhaustive or solely authoritative, but rather, in terms of providing a snapshot of Hip Hop Studies in the mid teens of the 21st century, and in terms of “advancing an original conception” of the field. With this goal in mind, we seek to compile a collection of singular, challenging essays that pay respect to hip hop scholarship of the past by building on that scholarship and suggesting new, emergent trajectories for subsequent scholarship.

One of our key objectives for this volume is that it speak to and about the contemporary moment—musically, culturally, ideologically, and theoretically. Contributors should thus focus in large part on what hip hop music/culture, in its many iterations, means todayto whom and in what settings; through what expressive means, musical and otherwise; and under what circumstances and socio-cultural conditions. Note, however, this present-centeredness is not meant to exclude historiographic examinations, either of hip hop music or scholarship. To the contrary, we are interested in how and why multiple histories are conceived, canonized, and challenged; and how these histories flow into and inform contemporary expressions, as well as vice-versa, in often-unacknowledged ways. Inspired by the crate-digging DJs who first birthed hip hop music—the DJs who flipped vinyl records from product to source of musical creativity, all in service to the here-and-now demands of the dance floor—we invite writings that are likewise future-oriented, historically-informed, and grounded in the present, seeking out new resonances between these multiple fields.

We encourage writers to address a wide array of hip hop music and sound—from mainstream to underground; from recorded to embodied; from commercially-oriented to culturally-oriented; from self-designated music to incidental soundscapes to outright noise; and finally, from the grey areas between the above categories to instances that explode these (and other) dichotomies altogether. Although the designated subject of this handbook is music, authors will be expected to link music and sound to other elements of hip hop culture, and also perhaps to musical practices and cultural dynamics extending beyond hip hop. When it comes to methodology, authors are encouraged to draw from multiple disciplines and schools of thought, as well as points of view that originate outside the academy. The view we take toward interdisciplinarity is that it should be found not only between the various articles in the Handbook but also within individual articles.

We hope the Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Music Studies will push the needle both on Hip Hop Studies and on how such work is presented and engaged—ideally, in a more fluid, dialogic form that draws inspiration from hip hop itself. This Handbook is conceived as a dynamic entity, one that will grow alongside its subject and will engage readers in mutual dialogue. To this end, we plan a significant online presence for the Handbook, including a designated landing page through Oxford University Press that will provide digital access to individual articles for purchase. The Oxford portal will allow for the posting of select articles before the printed Handbook goes to press; the posting of article-specific supplemental materials such as playlists, audio-visual materials, interview transcripts, and other information; and finally, the posting of articles falling outside the purview of the printed volume and articles approved after the designated deadline in anticipation of a second printed volume. For authors who are willing, we plan to make summaries and excerpts available to the general public for close reading and commentary—perhaps on a popular annotation-based website or other online public commons—in order to encourage reader engagement and to spur wider interest in the Handbook, linking it to rap and hip hop exegesis as a growing populist trend.

Please send abstracts of 400 words or less along with a 50-word bio (feel free to also link to a personal website) to [hiphopmusichandbook at gmail dot com] with subject heading “Handbook Proposal” by 1 October 2015. We will send acceptance notifications no later than 1 November 2015. Chapters of 5k-7k words will be due 1 March 2016, and we will work with authors on revisions through the spring in order to amass the entire collection by 1 June 2016 and submit to OUP shortly after.

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