From the media we often hear about hip-hop culture and music in relation to violence, drugs, and gangs; in other literature, however, we read about values such as community, love, equality, loyalty, justice, and respect.
In this section of Perspectives on Inquiry we explore those conflicting representations by discussing readings, films, and music — and by asking a series of related questions that draw on a range of disciplines and forms of inquiry:
- What social and economic forces have given rise to hip-hop culture?
- How are hip-hop visuals, lyrics, and fashion absorbed into mainstream, suburban, and middle-class commerce and culture?
- Most representations of gangs and hip-hop culture focus on men, but what roles do women play?
- What did Tupac Shakur mean by “Thugs are convicts in God’s prison”? Or “Wars come and go, but my soldiers stay eternal”?
- What are the global and international dimensions of hip-hop?
- What are the connections between hip-hop, environmentalism, and sustainability initiatives?
As part of our study of hip-hop, we compare the assumptions, methodologies, and goals of contrasting intellectual disciplines that you will encounter in college and in life. This is a reading- and writing-intensive course, so you should plan to stay abreast of the course calendar and your regular weekly assignments.
You will write and present, both individually and in groups, approximately 40 pages during the course, and we read — closely and carefully — articles and book chapters every week. I’ll pick some and you’ll pick some.
It’s no secret around here that students who take early and regular advantage of Michigan Tech’s Writing Center not only do better in their classes, but also benefit from the interactions with the coaches and staff in the Center.