Wolfson to host a conference on the language, history and sociology of hip-hop
I got 99 problems but my PhD ain’t one
Cambridge is far from renowned for its hip-hop and grime, and when it does turn up it’s usually at a club or festival (or that weird bit in Cindies at about half one where they play 30 seconds each of That’s Not Me and Feed ‘Em to the Lions).
However, this June the University is going to be treating rap the way they do most things: by getting a lot of people who are clever for a living in a room together to talk about the thing in lengthy, clever ways. In other words, Wolfson College will host an academic “International Hip Hop Studies Conference”, the title of which quotes a Rakim lyric: “It ain’t where you’re from, it’s about where you’re at”.
You’d expect an academic treatment of rap to focus on its (often very intricate) lyrics, yet this conference takes a distinctly sociological angle, concentrating on “issues of place, space, temporality, language, ethnicity, ethics, and politics”.
The event also seeks to assess where “we as hip hop scholars are at” – considering they’ve made their way to the illustrious ‘Bridge, (although not quite to a central college), they seem to be in a pretty good place.
So next time you’re stuck for an essay topic, whether it be economic, historical, sociological or literary, take some inspiration from this group of intrepid academics and it could result in triumph.