Rel 90-14 Introduction to Black Religions and Hip-Hop (AAS 90-14)

Longtime rapper KRS ONE, aka, “The Teacha” once stated that,“Rap is something you do and Hip-Hop is something you live.” Traditionally seen as a response to racism, poverty, and urban social decay, hip hop culture is now considered a global, local, and trans-cultural phenomenon. Similarly, religions of the “oppressed” – that is, those that arise from within and among communities seen as “marginal” – are often viewed as responses to similar social problems. But is that the end of the story? Who has ownership over cultural products like hip hop or religion? Who decides hip hop’s ‘fate,’ and does it even have one?  Taking a sociological lens of analysis, this course introduces students to the critical study of religion through close study of various expressions of black religion and hip hop, interrogations of the traditional theories of each, and an ongoing focus on social structures, the weight of history, and the changing face of religion in culture. We will consider themes of resistance, constraint, power, the body, deviance, morality, and pressing social concerns related to race, class, gender, and sexuality from a range of sources in and among a wide variety of hip hop cultural practices.  (HU)


Monica Miller



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