Photos: MTV; Monica Morgan/WireImage
The University of Arizona sees other colleges with classes on elements of hip-hop and raises a minor in Africana studies with a concentration in hip-hop cultures. “[The university] breaks borders in astronomy and we break borders in hip-hop now,” Arizona professor Alain-Philippe Durand told the L.A. Times. You’re damn right. Mandatory courses to complete the course of study include “Rap, Culture, and God” and “Hip-Hop Cinema.”
According to the course description:
[The concentration] provides students with a solid introduction and broad understanding of the origins and developing of the forms of expression that make up hip-hop cultures throughout the world: hip-hop dance, rap music, graffiti/tagging, fashion, business, and film. The Minor introduces students to the main themes represented in hip-hop cultures: appropriation and defense of spaces, mixing of different cultures, migrations, multilingualism, race, class, gender, religions, sexuality, nationality, politics and the economy, and, the search for identity.
Suffice to say, it’s no gimmick or attempt at cool. The course description closes: “Our view of hip-hop cultures goes beyond the stereotypical gangster and drug cultures to incorporate this expressive medium’s relationships and presences across different academic disciplines such as music, dance, language, religion, gender, culture, history, politics, marketing, fashion, management as well as film, radio, TV and performance studies.”
Good on Arizona for embracing hip-hop as a lens to examine America. It’s bound to be a popular selection among students. We look forward to reading Rap, Culture, and God term papers such as “Eminem Born Again: From 8 Mile to Baby Jesus.”