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University offers ‘Hip-Hop Feminisms’ course

Class examines ‘theory, praxis, methodology, and impact’ of feminist hip-hop

A course being offered at the University of Massachusetts Amherst this fall will examine hip-hop music from a feminist perspective, with the intention of “interven[ing] fiercely in binary thinking” and studying “performance forms like twerking and voguing,” among other class goals.

The class, titled “Hip-Hop Feminisms,” is “a multidisciplinary course that investigates the theory, praxis, methodology, and impact of the multi-farious figures and genres that circulate under this umbrella,” according to the course listing.

“Holding critically the assumed contradictions in its title–hip-hop’s assumed misogyny and feminism’s assumed whiteness–Hip-Hop Feminisms intervenes fiercely in binary thinking, highlighting the ways in which examining figures like Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Rihanna, Cardi B, Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah and Roxanne Shante, and performance forms like twerking and voguing place us at the nexus of significant cultural debates around identity, desire, representation, the body, and liberation,” the description continues.

“Foregrounding the critiques of black and women of color feminisms, and incorporating insights of queer studies, performance studies, critical race theory, and hip-hop studies, this course lifts up these often under-explored cultural transcripts and empowers young scholars to engage critically with influential pop culture phenomena and independent-artists alike.”

The course, part of the school’s Afro-American Studies Department, does not yet have an assigned instructor.

The school will offer a variety of feminist-based courses this fall. One class, “Feminism’s Sciences,” will examine “sciences feminists have critiqued, revised, reinterpreted, and reclaimed,” as well as “explore possibilities for a contemporary queer feminist materialist science studies.”

Another course, “Learning & Teaching Feminism,” will “reflect on how their understanding about feminism informs their lived experiences as incoming college students and prospective scholars of education.”

Read the hip-hop feminist course description here.

MORE: ‘Feminist Science’ event teaches researchers how to do ‘socially just science’

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