Professor Steven Lessner, in the English Department, presented his research in a session at the 2014 “Circling Our Wagons: Reflections on Hip Hop Landscape(s) Conference,” held April 11-13 at Albany State University.
<p>SEPTEMBER 17, 2013: Steven Lessner. (photo by Kim Walker)</p>
His presentation “It Was Written”: Using Organic Intellectuals of Hip Hop to Open Spaces for First-Year African American Male Students In First-Year Writing” focused on organic intellectuals of Hip Hop (Nas, Shakur, West) in how their critiques of U.S. racism and classism, resistance to dominant U.S. language practice, and communication to specific audiences can be effectively used in first-year writing classrooms to open up pedagogical spaces for African American males. Lessner shared with conference participants specific Hip Hop lyrical content, excerpts from interviews of Hip Hop artists, and data gathered from interviews conducted with a case study of four African American undergraduate male writers he taught on their experiences with writing. He further provided specific writing activities and assignments he created that invite first-year African American male students to reflect on their rich, innovative individual language and writing practices.