Most of us hear hip-hop on the radio, on TV, on commercials — but few of us stop to think about what it means
that hip-hop culture plays such a prevalent role in our daily experiences. Whether we realize it or not, our ability
to “read” this genre affects our ability to place ourselves as raced, gendered, classed beings in the larger context
of American and global culture. We will concentrate on five aspects of hip-hop culture: race, language, consumerism,
realism, and gender. We will use these broader categories in order to create complex, analytic, wellsupported
arguments in formal writing assignments related to these topics.
Our focus on hip-hop will aid us in developing analytical skills for deciphering how arguments are built into a
wide range of materials—especially those materials that may initially appear most frivolous or uncritical. The
majority of primary materials in the course will involve hip-hop songs, although we will also look at contemporary
films, speeches from the Civil Rights Era, non-fiction narratives, and poetry.
In addition to
short, daily writing assignments, you will be asked to write four formal papers ranging in length from 4-12 pages.
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As a writing course, this class aims for students to refine their thinking and writing processes.
Our class will function like a small writing community: you will read the work of your peers in a workshop setting,
honing your abilities as thoughtful editors and revisers for your own work as well as others'. You will also
work closely with the instructor in order to develop your written prose.