PANTHEON: Hip-Hop’s Global Pathways to Cultural “Legitimacy”
Paris, France, 26–27 January 2022
About this Meeting
The fourth meeting of the European Hiphop Studies Network is organized in collaboration with La Place: Centre for Hip-Hop Culture, and La Philharmonie de Paris. The two-day, bilingual English and French Network meeting will lead into a two-day French-language conference on the creation, legitimization, and patrimonialization of hip-hop cultures (28-29 January 2022). Both the Network meeting and conference complement the museum exhibition “Hip-Hop 360” at La Philharmonie, centred on the history of hip-hop and its arrival in France. As such, we welcome all participants to plan their stay in Paris from 26 to 29 January 2022 to take full advantage of the conferences, the museum exhibit, and a series of hip-hop events in the city.
Content and Issues
Over the past few decades, as hip-hop culture has grown in popular influence and impact, it has increasingly been taken up as both a subject of study and a point of interest in educational and cultural institutions worldwide. Its acceptance into the academic and official realms has led to a popular discourse suggesting that hip-hop culture has been ‘legitimized’ – for better and for worse.
This process of institutionalization and ‘legitimization’ is complex and deeply ambivalent. In her appearance before the student-organized seminar ‘La Plume et le bitume’ at France’s prestigious École normale supérieure (ENS), rapper Casey preempted any temptation to see the academic seminar as a means of legitimizing rap:
Rap – even if it’s good that an association at the ENS takes an interest in it, that today, we can hold a seminar on it – rap doesn’t need to be legitimized by elite academic institutions (grandes écoles). It is an important culture without the ENS, or a chair at Harvard or Oxford taking an interest in it. (translated by Emily Shuman, https://youtu.be/jJsqvpG6Gfk)
Casey hints at what hip-hop scholar Murray Forman has described as, “the dual (and at times dueling) purpose of building academic knowledge while building hip-hop cultural knowledge.” Indeed, knowledge has often been cited as the fifth element of hip-hop.
Taking inspiration from French rapper Booba’s 2004 album Panthéon, which elaborates links between reverence, national pride, cultural legitimacy, and the famed mausoleum reserved for “great men,” the meeting seeks to explore the role of institutions in hip-hop’s legitimization. We invite reflections (including academic papers, workshops, artistic contributions, or other alternative formats) on the relationship between pathways to knowledge rooted in the cultural and artistic practices of hip-hop, and those that stem from institutional efforts to transmit hip-hop’s history and aesthetics. In other words, what are the roles that hip-hop researchers, practitioners, and activists can undertake to advance hip-hop’s work of knowledge and liberation? What might be the challenges or potentials of collaborations between hip-hop practitioners and the commodified knowledge trade of museums, universities, and conservatories? We invite submissions which may consider, but are by no means limited to, these questions.
Submissions and Selection Process
To be considered for the Network meeting, please submit the following documents by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight CEST, Friday, 1 October 2021:
- A written abstract/description of 250 words including author name(s) and institutional affiliation(s) (if applicable)
- Or an audio-/visual text of a maximum of maximum 2 minutes (.mp4)
Please submit all documents as an attachment. All proposals and all videos, as far as possible, will be anonymized before being forwarded to the organization committee. We will inform all applicants about the final decision by Monday, 1 November 2021. A select number of bursaries will be available for accepted presenters.
We accept proposals in either English or French languages. If presenting in French, we ask you to prepare a short accompanying abstract or slides in English. We also invite master’s and doctoral students as well as early career researchers to present their work-in-progress. We especially welcome papers that engage with less-academically-visible work from artists and practitioners from a wider variety of backgrounds.
Organizing Committee (in alphabetical order):
Amir Sadik Abdullah aka. DJ Amir, 180 Proof Records
Monique Charles, University of West London, DrMoniqueCharles.com
Paroma Ghose, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) Sina A. Nitzsche, Dortmund University of Applied Arts and Sciences/University Bristol Griff Rollefson, University College Cork/CIPHER
Emily Shuman, New York University