Senegal

Hip Hop, Resilience & Black Struggles

Examine how young Africans use hip-hop to question traditional representations of Africa, imagine the continent’s future, and raise consciousness of globalization and (in)equality.

At a Glance

Credits

6

Prerequisites

None

Courses taught in

English

Dates

Jun 6 ‎– Jul 18

Program Countries

Senegal

Program Base

Dakar

Critical Global Issue of Study

Identity & Human Resilience

Identity & Human Resilience Icon

Geopolitics & Power

Geopolitics & Power Icon

Overview

Why Study Hip-Hop in Africa?

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.

Hip-hop artists in West Africa are challenging Eurocentric understandings of the world and redefining Africa from a decolonial perspective. In Senegal, one of the most innovative countries in Africa, you’ll engage with hip-hop artists, activists, and influencers to learn how they critique traditional understandings of Africa and African-descended peoples, imagine African futures, and raise consciousness about globalization and (in)equality. You will have the chance to study, engage, and perform with international hip-hop artists and activists such as Docta, Ndongo D, Xeinnix, and Salla Ngary.

Highlights

  • Explore hip-hop as a philosophical, political, and economic force in Africa.
  • Attend workshops led by major hip-hop artist like King Mo, Ndongo D, and Xeinnix.
  • Learn how African youth shape and are shaped by globalization.
  • Spend two weeks in Ghana experiencing hip life, a unique version of hip-hop.
  • Study with Senegalese students.

Prerequisites

None.

Excursions

SAINT LOUIS: THE CREOLE CITY par excellence

You’ll visit this cosmopolitan Creole city on the northwest coast of Senegal. Located on N’Dar Island in the Senegal River, Saint Louis is frequently compared to New Orleans. Its urban cultural scene is particularly diverse, situated at the crossroads of Africa, Europe, the Americas, and the Muslim world.

PIKINE: BRINGING HOPE, SUSTAINING DEMOCRACY

Visit this vibrant center of urban culture to continue your exploration of African hip-hop as a political force on the continent. Africulturban, its active urban center, is one of the most engaging hip-hop centers in the country, run by Matador, the godfather of Slam poetry in Francophone Africa.

GUEDIAWAYE: HOME OF G HIP-HOP

Guediawaye, a densely populated neighborhood on the outskirts of Dakar known for activist hip-hop, is the home of G Hip-Hop, a collective engaging in social transformation, educational decoloniality, and sustainable development. In Guediawaye, you’ll learn about how hip-hop is transforming one of the most disenfranchised neighborhoods in Senegal into an important source of talent, creativity, and innovation.

YARAKH

Explore Yarakh, a Dakar neighborhood that’s home to some of Senegal’s major talents including Ndiol, the world-renowned director of Kaddu Yarakh and a strong proponent of Theater of the Oppressed in Senegal, and Moussa Sene Absa, one of the foremost Senegalese directors. You’ll experience this renowned neighborhood through workshops organized by these giants of Senegalese culture.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.

Academics

Coursework

The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Hip-hop as an African philosophy
  • Decolonial approaches to education and literacy
  • Urban cultures and sustainable development
  • The pervasive nature of coloniality in black communities globally
  • Complexity of African-descended cultures and their pluriversality
  • What shapes diasporic identities and communities outside of Africa

African Urban Hip-Hop and Decolonial Futures

African Urban Hip-Hop and Decolonial Futures – syllabus
(AFRS-3000 / 3 credits)

The goal of the course is to provide students with a deeper understanding of the vitality, resilience, and global breadth of contemporary African and African diaspora communities through experiential engagement with hip-hop and urban cultures as decolonial voices that address the limits of coloniality, global capitalism, and local political realities. This course focuses on the ways African urban hip-hop functions as decolonial pedagogical praxes and counterhegemonic movements against cultural and economic imperialism in the global African diaspora. Using music as a political and aesthetic expression against empire, we explore the potential and limits of African urban hip-hop to offer disenfranchised masses, especially people of African descent, possibilities to critique and delink from coloniality in their everyday lives. We study hip-hop as a means to create solidarity between African descendants and economically disenfranchised peoples from the global north and the global south. Our ultimate goal is to question dominant narratives and create a transformative consciousness about economic and cultural globalization, immigration, identity, nation, nationality, democracy, human rights, and equality.

Rethinking Africa and the African Diaspora

Rethinking Africa and the African Diaspora – syllabus
(AFRS-3500 / 3 credits)

The goal of this course is to provide a deeper understanding of the Idea of “Africa” and the African diaspora from a decolonial perspective. By engaging with the intellectual, social, and political characteristics of everyday life in Senegal and the U.S., students will examine dominant narratives about people of African descent to critique colonial interpretations of Africa and move toward a consciousness that decolonizes the “idea of Africa” and the African diaspora. Further, this course attempts to evaluate the way this critical and experiential engagement with mainstream understandings of the meaning of “Africa” is essential to the decolonial futures of people of African descent. The course will have three major concentrations: 1) the hegemonic discourses and practices rooted in the colonial matrix of power that have, since the 14th century, participated in the invention of “Africa” and the dehumanization of people of African descent; 2) the competing anti-colonial discourses and political practices that have questioned the colonial matrix of power. We will focus on how these engagements do not succeed in completely delinking from the modern paradigm, and therefore continue to participate in another re-invention of “Africa” that still places African-descended cultures and peoples at the periphery of knowledge production; 3) the often silenced, yet nonetheless articulated decolonial voices and creolized cultures that allow for a more Afro-centered understanding of the presence of people of African descent in the world. The analysis of these three major ways of understanding “Africa” and African-descended peoples will be done in light of students’ everyday experiences in the U.S. and in Senegal, thereby allowing us to determine what “Africa” and the “African diaspora” mean to us rather than what they are. We will interrogate the ways practices in host families, places of worship, artist workshops, entertainment, markets, political spheres, and workplaces, etc., expose the way discourses on “Africa” have participated in our own conceptions of, and relation with, afro-descendants and how engaging these discourses and practices can prepare us to not only reconceptualize the pluriversality of the continent but also re-imagine the future of African-descended peoples in decolonial terms.

Homestays

Dakar

For six weeks, you will live with a Senegalese family in Dakar, the capital and the country’s largest city. You’ll experience Senegalese daily life, going to the market, tailor, neighborhood boutiques, and beach with your host family. You may attend soccer or wrestling matches and concerts with your homestay siblings. You may also have opportunities to attend a naming or wedding ceremony and Muslim holiday celebrations.

Most homestay families are middle class by local standards and represent different professions, including nurses, business owners and teachers. Host family homes range from within walking distance to the SIT program center to 20–30 minutes away by bus.

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

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