All course sections and blog categories will be posted as the Spring 2011 course develops…
The course covers the historical trajectory of hip-hop from its inception in the post-civil rights era of New York City during1970’s in the form of four elements - break dancing, rap, turntablism, and graffiti art - to its contemporary identity as a global youth phenomenon. The historical development of hip-hop is accompanied with the analysis of scholarly works ranging from contemporary academic research to old-school rap lyrics. Literature, lectures, legal cases, films and multi-media projects individually analyze each element and question the four-element paradigm that defines hip-hop today. The course looks at the role gender, class, and race play in the use of hip-hop as a tool for social change while simultaneously acting as a corporate marketing device. Throughout the semester the class aims to re-structure stereotypes and offer a deeper perspective into how hip-hop defines the identities of individuals as well as the consciousness of masses.
Anthropology of Hip-Hop breaks down the course into nine distinct sections: (1) Legendary Roots, (2) “Hip-Hop!” the Four Elements and Pop Culture, (3) The New Revolution & Gangster Rap, (4) Rap and the Law, (5) Race & Class Politics of Hip-Hop, (6) Turntablism & Production, (7) Bling Bling: Hip-Hop Consumerism, (8) Gender/Sexuality, and (9) Global Hip-Hop. Guest speakers and local hip-hop artists are incorporated into the course so as to contribute to an ongoing dialogue between academia and the community.
Dr. Melisa “Emetrece” Riviere
Dr. Melisa "Emetrece" Riviere is an anthropologist and Latina hip-hop audiovisual director, producer, and scholar. In 2010 she received a MacArthur Scholars doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota for her research on the globalization of hip-hop and its local expressions between Cuba and Puerto Rico using musical and audiovisual production as a unique disciplinary methodology. The same year in Havana the multimedia productions from her dissertation received the prestigious Lucas Award from the Cuban Institute for Radio and Television.
The artistic name Emetrece originated many years earlier in 1991 as a nom d' plume for anonymous publications by Melisa Riviere, written out as M13. her name containing 13 letters and with the initials MR could be scripted in such a way to appear as an M13. Her name was later altered to Emetrece so as to identify with her Latina origin and target the Latino community. The word strategically includes 4 letters ‘E,’ each of which relates to an element of hip-hop – DJ, graffiti art, break dance, and lyricism/rap.
Dr. Riviere has worked with Songo Sounds, Time Machine Squad, and The Lab Studios in Puerto Rico, as well as The Cuban Institute of Music, the Agency for Rap, La Fabri K, the Hermanos Saíz Association, Casas de Cultura, and Real70 Studios in Cuba. Her work on either island includes documenting hip-hop conferences, festivals, and live performances; leading keynote talks and pedagogical workshops; and producing musical recordings as well as video clips with Anónimo Consejo, Tego Calderón, Doble Filo, Los Aldeanos, SieteNueve, Intifada, Silvito el Libre, Escuadrón Patriota and Obsesión amongst others.
As a pioneer hip-hop scholar Dr. Riviere teaches courses in Anthropology and Global Studies at various universities and college campuses. She has published in a wide range of academic journals and popular culture magazines ranging from In The House Magazine, Movimiento Magazine, Public Art Review and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Her audiovisual ethnographic publications have appeared in albums released by major music labels such as Atlantic Records and showcased in film festivals such as the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival.
In the role of co-founding director of the annual international summit titled “B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip-Hop,” Dr. Riviere advocates for the empowerment of women and youth within the art movement. Merging academia with entrepreneurship, in 2003 she founded Emetrece Productions, an audio-visual production company and independent music label that focuses on "edu-tainment" making education more entertaining and entertainment more educational. This cross between academia and the music industry was born from a dire need to pollinate both environments with their respective qualities to overcome each other’s deficiencies.
Dr. Riviere’s two decades of multimedia production, hip-hop education and “raptivism” has received the attention of media giants such as Reuters, Associated Press and CNN.