Syllabuzz: Globalization of Hip-Hop

Assistant Professor of English Jennifer Eidum explores the impact of hip-hop on people an cultures around the world as part of this Core Curriculum class.

Have you ever wondered if you have a hip-hop story? Has hip-hop impacted your personal life journey or stories and cultures across the globe? This is what students in COR 3110 Globalization of Hip-Hop, taught by Assistant Professor of English Jennifer Eidum, often explore.

An image of graffiti art on the pavement showing a silhouette of a girlOffered during Winter Term and summer, the course asks students to immerse themselves in the worldwide history and culture of hip-hop, connecting their personal experiences and expertise to the course themes. “Music and hip-hop culture are so personal that I really want them thinking about their own stories and relationship to the music and to the culture,” Eidum says.

Students begin the course by creating their hip-hop timeline and telling their stories. Eidum tells them her own story of how a white woman from Montana teaches a class on global hip-hop culture. “I tell them about my personal relationship with the music,” she adds, “so that they know where I’m coming from, and also how I’ve developed my expertise.”

The course encourages students to investigate how artists negotiate global-
ization and localization through their authenticity and explore the development of hip-hop culture within other countries. The course also includes studying the relationship of hip-hop to other topics such as economics, art history, education, representation and appropriation.

Students conclude the course with a final project that connects the course’s core curriculum and their respective major’s curriculum in a way that synergizes with the course content. “What that often means is students will use their specialized expertise to develop something related to hip-hop music, hip-hop culture,” Eidum says. Projects from previous students include an education major creating a set of lesson plans for a high school teacher to teach poetry through hip-hop lyricism, and a pre-health science student exploring hip-hop physical therapy, using hip-hop dance moves to strengthen and utilize parts of the body.

“I want students to respect the popular culture, that everything around us matters, and can be analyzed, and can be thought of both through our love and passion, but also with an academic lens. Everything that happens around us is a text that we could try to understand,” Eidum says, adding that she also wants students to leave the course with a deep respect for the complexity, power and resistance occurring within hip-hop and concepts that may challenge society.

About the Professor

Joining the English department as an assistant professor in 2015, Jennifer Eidum specializes in writing, linguistics and English education. Her background includes time serving in the Peace Corps, where she taught English in Ukraine. At Elon, she also teaches first-year writing, Language in Society, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL): Theory & Practice.

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