4:00 pm, Monday, November 7
254 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive (map)

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Language Institute is pleased to present the second lecture in its 2011-12 series, Cosmopolitanism and Language:

Global Hip-Hop Nation Language: Race, Métissage and the Semiotic of Globalization
Awad Ibrahim, University of Ottawa

Comments from Ronald Radano, UW-Madison School of Music

The aim in this presentation is to explore and think through what is being called Global Hip-Hop Nation Language (GHHNL). Halifu Osumare’s notion of collective marginality and the notion of métissage will be the frame of reference. Connective marginality contends that globally, Hip-Hop resonates with young people across four main fields: culture, social class, historical oppression and youth rebellion; and métissage is a boundary-pushing notion of hybridity where languages, oralities and cultures are rubbing against each other; and whose end result is a radically localized Hip-Hop. The presentation will offer four examples that show how globally marginal communities use Hip-Hop as their ‘passport’ into the Global Hip-Hop Nation, where GHHNL is their access. The first example shows that the so-called “Arab Spring Revolution” started with a Hip-Hop song, Head of State. The second example demonstrates that in Brazil, Hip-Hop single-handedly brought the question of race and racialization (not to say, racial inequality and racism) to the center of public discourse; Hip-Hop has become the voice of the favelas.  The third example is from Japan, where Hip-Hop was so influential that it introduced rhymes into the Japanese language that did not exist before the introduction of Hip-Hop. The last example is from Hong Kong, where the Cantonese language, which was considered taboo to speak, is now a mainstream language and accepted by most people in Hong Kong, thanks to Hip-Hop. The talk will conclude with remarks on what pedagogical lesson we can draw from these examples, especially for cosmopolitanism and citizenship studies. It is time to ‘flip the script’ and wonder not so much about the ‘impact of globalization’ but what people do with the (semiotic of) globalization; that is, how they translate, make sense, and eventually creolize, indigenize and localize the global.

This lecture is sponsored by the Language Institute, with funding from the Anonymous Fund.  The Language Institute promotes collaboration in world languages, literatures and cultures. It is an initiative of the College of Letters and Science, with substantial support from the Division of International Studies.

The lecture is free and open to the public.