ELEMENTS BRISTOL: 2nd Meeting of the European HipHop Studies Network 2019 – Call for Papers out now!

It is an extremely great pleasure to present the Call for Papers for the 2nd meeting of the European HipHop Studies Network. Submit your project and join the movement!

ELEMENTS BRISTOL, 06-08 June 2019

2nd Meeting of the European HipHop Studies Network

University of Bristol, UK

Call for Papers

Emceeing. DJing. Breaking. Graffiti. Hip-hop is commonly understood to consist of these four elements. The idea of four elements is one of hip-hop culture’s core narrative and most pervasive founding myth since its beginnings in the Bronx in the 1970s. Yet, the idea of four core elements has been highly contested since the beginning of the culture as there is no unified definition of how many elements exist, who defined them, and how they came together. For instance, hip-hop founding father Kool Herc believes that “that there are far more than those [four elements]: the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you look, the way you communicate.” (Chang xi) Likewise, on his album Kristyles, KRS ONE introduces his theory of nine elements which include beatboxing, fashion, knowledge, and entrepreneurialism (“Nine Elements”). On the other hand, researchers such as criminologist Jeffrey Ross also emphasize that “graffiti […] was established long before hip-hop music emerged in the South Bronx, and many of its practitioners do not identify with the music or its subculture at all” (139). While their number is contested, hip-hop’s elements are crucial in understanding the logics, conventions, and values of this fascinating culture in the US and in Europe. They reveal its creative tensions as well as larger notions of authority, authorship, boundary formation, community as well as inclusion and exclusion.

The second meeting of the European HipHop Studies Network therefore explores one of hip-hop’s most central ideas, the ideas of elements: Who defines them? What do they tell us about cultural,  social, and economic communities and boundaries across Europe? How do these limits vary according to various contexts and practices across Europe? What are their consequences for cultural production and consumption? The objective of the meeting is to trace, interrogate, and expand the notion of elements as central organizing principles in hip-hop culture and their variations across Europe.

We invite papers, panels, performances, and contributions from a wide variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and angles. Scholarly disciplines include but are not limited to art history, cultural studies, black studies, ethnography, geography, graffiti studies, literary studies, musicology, pedagogy, performance studies, philosophy, political science, sociology, and visual culture studies. Artistic contributions include performances, themed panels of any format, lecture-recitals, and philosophies which combine research and praxis (or practice-as-research).

Artistic and scholarly proposals engaging with European hip-hop’s elements (those based both in Europe and outside of it) should include a title, 250 word abstract of their contribution and short biographical sketch. This should be submitted to hiphopnetworkeurope@gmail.com no later than 31 January 2019. We especially welcome papers that engage with less-academically-visible work, and from artists and practitioners from a wider variety of backgrounds. We hope to see you in Bristol!

Network Organizing Committee

  • Séverin Guillard (University Paris Est Créteil)
  • Sergey Ivanov (aka Grand PaP) (DA EXIT NGO, Moscow)
  • James McNally (University of Bristol)
  • Sina Nitzsche (Ruhr University Bochum/TU Dortmund University)
  • Griffith Rollefson (University College Cork)
  • Venla Sykäri (University of Helsinki)
  • Justin Williams (University of Bristol)


Justin Williams


Call for Papers: Rhyme and Rhyming in Verbal Art and Song

Rhyme and Rhyming in Verbal Art and Song  

Helsinki, Finland, 22nd– 24th May 2019

During Medieval times, end rhyme became a key device for demarcating poetic lines in European and Arabic cultures. Besides characterizing a longstanding literary tradition, end rhyme and rhyme patterns became central structural and sonic elements in oral and oral-literary traditions worldwide. In oral performance, rhyme stands for aesthetics, creativity and memory: memorization as well as the exploitation of working memory in lyrical improvisation. In verbal art and song, rhymed registers continue to deploy the poetic potential of language for situated communication and meaning over changes in fashion and the coming of new musical styles.

This conference is intended to promote cross-disciplinary analysis and understanding of the role and aesthetics of rhyme in the poetics of sound and meaning. Our focus is especially upon the history and universality of rhyme as well as its particularities in various performed oral and popular registers.

The keynote speakers will be:

  • Nigel Fabb, Professor of Literary Linguistics, The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
  • Dwight Reynolds, Professor of Arabic Language & Literature, Uni. of California, Santa Barbara
  • Seppo Heikkinen, Senior Lecturer in Latin, University of Helsinki, Helsinki

We invite scholars to engage in analytic discussions on rhyme as a poetic device and rhyming as a cognitive practice. Proposals with abstracts of 300–500 words should be sent by 15th November 2018 to: rhymeconference@gmail.com

We welcome proposals including, but not limited to, the following themes:

  • POETICS: forms, patterns, aesthetics; language/culture-specific versus universal characteristics
  • TRADITIONS: cultures, genres, registers; oral/popular/sacred; the interface of oral and literary
  • HISTORY: historical continuums, developments and transformations; poetic ideologies/currents
  • COGNITION: methods of oral composition; reception, perception, memorization

The conference Rhyme and Rhyming in Verbal Art and Song will be held 22nd–24th May 2019 at the Finnish Literature Society (SKS), Hallituskatu 1, Helsinki, Finland. https://www.finlit.fi/rhymeconference

The event is organized by Folklore Studies of the University of Helsinki and the Academy of Finland research project Letters and Songs: Registers of Beliefs and Expressions in the Early Modern North (2016–2020) of the Finnish Literature Society. A registration fee (approx. 60 €) will cover lunches and coffee/tee. For more information, please contact rhymeconference@gmail.com

Rope A Dope 4: Hip-Hop Studies Symposium in Bristol, UK

Adam de Paor-Evans and Justin Williams are hosting a symposium on hip-hop studies as part of ROPE-A-DOPE 4 (27-29 July) at The Rope Walk pub in Bedminster, Bristol. On Friday 27 July, the symposium features speakers on graffiti, grime, Grenfell, drill, early electro in the UK, and much more. Discussion panels will include hip-hop in other parts of the world, graffiti and hip-hop’s social responsibilities for academics and practitioners. The event coincides nicely with the 10th anniversary of UPFEST (the largest graffiti/street art festival in Europe- Saturday 28th – Monday 30th July 2018).

The symposium will run on the Friday (27th July) from 10am-6pm followed by DJs spinning the finest in rare funk, hip hop and boogie from 7pm till late. Saturday and some of Sunday will be plenty of live performances there as well, including live graffiti by local artists on the Saturday. The Rope Walk, B-Line Recordings, University of Bristol, UCLan, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council are stakeholders in this super dope event.

Events are free and welcome to all.

Hope to see you there!

HipHop Education in the UK: #HipHopEdUK

Since 2012, Daren Chetty and his colleagues have been running free, open-access sessions for hip-hop artists, educators, youth-workers and anyone else interested in thinking about the relationship between hip-hop culture and education. A round-up of their events organized in 2017 can be found at the HipHopEdUK Newsletter.

Check out their important work!

Is German Rap Music Anti-Semitic?

The German battle rap scene is currently under scrutiny because the duo Farid Bang and Kollegah received the Echo music prize for their album Jung, Brutal, Gutaussehend 3 which contains anti-semitic lyrics. Rappers such as Retrogott, Ben Solomon, Sun Diego, commented and news outlets reported on the incident:

This controversy raises complex questions about transgressing genre boundaries, freedom of art, the commercial nature of battle rap, and the larger rise of anti-semitism and right-wing populism in Germany and Europe. What do you think about this controversy? Sound off in the comments section!

Breaking and Disability

At first glance, breaking and visual impairment do not seem to go together. Nathan Geering, UK hiphop scholar and artistic director of the hiphop theatre company Rationale explored the benefits of dance for people with disabilities. Truly fascincating work. Check out this Vice article.

Thanks to Nathan Geering.

Congratulations, Kendrick Lamar!

The European Hiphop Studies Network congratulates American rapper, composer, poet, lyricist, and dope artist to the Pulitzer Prize! We could not agree more with the jury who stated that it is “a big moment for hip-hop music” and global Hiphop Studies.

Here is to you, Mr. Lamar!

Check out more information in the New York Times.