Hip Hop Ecologies (Workshop and Special Issue)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
University of Konstanz, Germany

Hip Hop Ecologies: A Workshop at the University of Konstanz (June 26-28, 2020)

Hip hop is one of the globally most successful forms of cultural production today. Since its emergence in the African American and Latino neighborhoods of 1970s New York City, it has spread around the world and exerted a considerable impact not only on pop culture, but on societal debates around race, class, public safety, nationality, gender, and a range of other issues. The rapidly expanding field of hip hop studies has examined its artistic development and cultural significance from a variety of angles. What has remained almost entirely absent from scholarly debate is the relationship between hip hop and the environment.

            As a predominantly urban phenomenon, hip hop does not pursue an environ­mentalist agenda in any narrow sense. Its focus is on social rather than natural life, on the city rather than the country. Nevertheless, an environmental perspective on hip hop promises to enrich our understanding of the ways in which popular cultural forms shape and are shaped by environmental concerns. Such an approach can direct our attention to important dimensions of hip hop that have remained marginal to public and scholarly debate. Conversely, hip hop offers unconventional vistas that challenge narrow conceptions the environment and of the academic field of Environmental Studies.

            The workshop wants to provide a form for critical discussion and open-ended exploration of these issues. Contributions might draw on various elements of hip hop culture in any local or national setting to address the following aspects or others:

  • depictions and negotiations of nature in hip hop
  • environmental approaches to (urban) space in hip hop
  • hip hop and urban ecology
  • rural hip hop and its environmental dimensions
  • material environments of hip hop production and reception
  • environmentally aware or embedded hip hop cultures
  • hip hop in/and environmental activism
  • environmental framings in debates around hip hop
  • hip hop and the posthuman
  • hip hop and the natural sciences

While the workshop will be held in English, contributions on non-anglophone hip hop are expressly invited. If you would like to participate, please send a 250-word proposal and a short biographical note as pdf files to the organizer by September 30, 2019.

A leading peer-reviewed journal of Environmental Studies has expressed interest in publishing the results of the workshop as a special issue. Submissions are invited from both workshop participants and outside contributors; the deadline will be in the fall of 2020. There will be travel bursaries for workshop participants who submit an essay for the special issue. Feel free to inquire if you are interested in this option.



Professor Timo Müller
American Studies
University of Konstanz, Germany