Narrativity and Hip Hop (ENGL B216)
Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, BMC
Tuesday 2:10–5:00 p.m.
This course explores narrative and poetic forms and themes in hip-hop culture in Philadelphia and beyond. Through close, intensive analysis of hip hop lyrics, as well as audiovisual performance and film, we will consider how artists from the late twentieth century onward have used the hip hop to extend, engage, and complicate key concerns of literature in general, and African American and African Diaspora literature in particular. How do literary tropes such as the cautionary tale, the coming-of-age narrative, the quest narrative, the redemption narrative, the protest narrative, and the coming-out story influence hip hop texts? What possibilities do these forms of hip-hop storytelling open for our analysis of cultural and political life in 2021? Focusing on the musical and literary cultures of Philadelphia and drawing links to other contexts, we will take up these questions through an analysis of hip hop texts from the late 1970s to the current moment, including works by Philadelphia rappers The Roots, Meek Mill, and Lady Cannon, as well as Queen Latifah, Kendrick Lamar, Kurtis Blow, Notorious B.I.G., Lxs Krudxs Cubensi, Nitty Scott, KripHop Nation, Bad Bunny, Megan Thee Stallion, KC Ortiz and others. Reading these alongside Philly-focused stories and other narrative works by W.E.B. Du Bois, Alice Walker, Ann Petry, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Nnedi Okorafor, Raquel Salas Rivera, and Asali Solomon, we will examine how hip hop intervenes in narratives about nation, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic location, (dis)ability, and intersectional political engagement across space, time, and genre. Through a series of in-class visits from Philadelphia rappers, writers, and activists, as well as excursions exploring the city’s hip hop and literary cultures, we will consider how Philadelphia’s cultural and historical complexity offers fodder for a rich intersectional analysis of hip hop storytelling. Conditions permitting, this course will be taught in Philadelphia at the Friends Center.
Urban Places, Historical Spaces: Society, Health and Social Justice in Philadelphia (HLTH H211)
Patricia Kelly, HC
Wednesday 10:15–12:45 p.m.
Cities are dynamic sites of social change and social tension; impacted by migration, globalization, de/industrialization and technological shifts, Philadelphia is both the birthplace of American democracy and the nation’s poorest large city. This course will take a broad view of the nation’s first capital, in anthropological, geographic, and historical perspective. Our primary themes will be social justice and health. We will explore and analyze health, activism, inequalities, and social movements in the city through various lenses, including: food; migration and ethnic enclaves; the built environment; race, class and space; tourism and historical memory; policing; and education. This course is part of the TriCo Philly program and does NOT take place on campus; rather students will spend one week engaging in reading and discussion on our topics at the Friends Center in Center City and the following week visiting field sites throughout the city, engaging with speakers and conducting anthropological observation.