Ali Colleen Neff

Ali Colleen Neff is a writer, filmmaker, and turntablist with the Bay Area's Red Wine Society. As a Ph.D. student in Cultural Studies at UNC – Chapel Hill, she has worked extensively with the musical communities of Mississippi and Senegal. Her book, Let the World Listen Right: The Mississippi Delta Hip-Hop Story (University Press of Mississippi, 2009) and her website, www.ethnolyrical.org, document musical life throughout the Black Atlantic.



"The The ? Remains: Toward a Culture-Emergent Hip-Hop Studies"

Of all forms of popular music, hip-hop is arguably the most explicit in its claims to constituting a distinctive and coherent “culture”. Yet – paradoxically - hip-hop scholarship has historically made surprisingly little use of methodologies designed for the study of cultural processes in human society.

This roundtable will explore the experience of scholars who have resisted this trend by not only being participant/observers in the general anthropological sense, but by actually practicing one or more hip-hop arts. Discussants are asked to reflect on the virtues and potential pitfalls involved in this cultural collision of research, performance, advocacy and personal expression. How do we negotiate multiple roles and divided allegiances? In what ways do these experiences reflect the condition of urbanity itself, which gave rise to hip-hop in the first place? How may this experience cycle back to define the parameters and goals of our methodologies? Is there such a thing as a culture-emergent hip-hop studies methodology, and if so, what are its strengths and weaknesses?

This roundtable features five accomplished scholar-practitioners of hip-hop, some of whom approach this work as hip hop artists turned academics; some as academics who became artists in the process of researching hip hop; and some who experience hip-hop as part of the ongoing negotiation of their everyday lives.