|Critical Approaches to Hip-Hop and Religion|
Call for Proposals
This Consultation has chosen as its session’s topic “Salvation for Sale: Hip-Hop as Religious Commodity.” Economic dis/enfranchisement has always played an important role in hip-hop culture. Similarly, the religious is consistently sighted and cited within hip-hop culture as a means of identity construction and ethical formation. Given these concurrent themes operating with hip-hop, what does this possibly signal about the shifting nature of the “religious” in the contemporary moment? Recent texts such as 50 Cent’s The 50th Law (cowritten with Robert Greene, New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009) and Jay-Z’s Decoded (New York, NY: Random House Publishing Group, 2010) signify on various religious modalities while simultaneously focusing in large part on material gain. Is there a connection, then, between the material and the religious as evidenced in hip-hop? Does this possible connection provide theoretical insights into the nature of the religious as materially informed and produced? Does it signal a shift or growing inability to distinguish between the religious and the commercial? What does hip-hop as religious commodity signify about the nature of the religious, and the possibilities of hip-hop being understood as religious expression? With these questions as a starting point, we invite papers from a variety of disciplines and theoretical and methodological perspectives that explore this theme.
This Consultation’s purpose is to provide a space for interdisciplinary, sustained scholarly reflection and intellectual advancements at the intersections of religion and hip-hop culture. We believe the space of this Consultation will assist religious and theological studies to take more seriously hip-hop culture — while expanding the conversation of hip-hop culture beyond a thin analysis of rap music. To these ends, this Consultation is marked by an effort to offer critical reflection on the multiplicity of the cultural practices of hip-hop culture. We also see something of value in advancing the field of religious studies through attention to how hip-hop might inform these various disciplines and methods. Understood in this way, scholarly attention to hip-hop will not transform it into a passive object of the scholar’s gaze — rather, through our attention to hip-hop, it also speaks back to the work of the AAR, offering tools by which to advance theory and method in the field.
Anonymity of Review Process
Proposer names are visible to Chairs but anonymous to Steering Committee Members.
Christopher M. Driscoll
Method of Submission