Join this 5-week certificate course to explore Hip Hop's origin story vis-a-vis the contributions of women in the culture.
A 5-week certificate course led by Dr. Francesca D’Amico-Cuthbert and featuring special guests will focus on the history of Hip Hop culture and the role that women have played in its development since its inception fifty years ago. This course will explore Hip Hop’s origin story vis-a-vis the contributions of women in the culture – namely, women who have served in the capacity of artists, business people, industry insiders, educators, activists, and scholars.
In addition to highlighting the nature of women’s contributions to the culture, this course will detail women’s erasure in the storytelling of Hip Hop culture’s fifty-year history, and the development and range of their unique gender expressions and performances as they have taken up each of Hip Hop’s elements.
Week 1: Women & Hip Hop’s Origin Story
This week we take a look back at the beginnings of Hip Hop culture and interrogate its origin story with particular attention to women’s contributions as well as the politics of their erasure. This week’s class will also include a short conversation with guest speaker Martha Diaz – media producer (Yo! MTV Raps, Black August, Where My Ladies At? and Nas: Time Is Illmatic), archivist, curator, and founder of the Hip Hop Education Center.
Week 2: Hip Hop as a Masculinist Terrain
This week we will examine the masculinist practices, politics, and socio-political contexts that shaped Hip Hop culture, its rise, and it’s inevitable mainstreaming. In doing so, we will also explore how Hip Hop’s masculinist terrain shaped the laneways that Hip Hop’s women operated within and carved out for themselves.
Week 3: Power Dynamics in Hip Hop Culture and Its Industries
This week we examine the nature of power within Hip Hop culture and the industries that have absorbed and marketed it. We will also explore the ongoing nature of harm, violence, trauma and unprotection that women have been subjected to as they have laboured to carve out power and position. This week’s class will also include a short conversation with guest speaker Michele Geister – creator of MuchMusic’s iconic program RapCity.
Week 4: Hip Hop, Crunk and Trap Feminisms
This week we take a look back at the rise of Hip Hop feminism and the array of feminist theories, texts and practices that have emerged in the streets and the art – as in the case of Hip Hop, Crunk and Trap feminisms. In addition to exploring each of the theories listed, as well as the commitments and inspirations associated with them, we will also examine how these ideologies took up space in the ivory tower.
Week 5: Hip Hop Gender Performances & Identities
This week we take a look at the lanes of gender representation and expression that Hip Hop’s women created for themselves and the politics and poetics that shaped the production of those performances. This week’s class will also include a short conversation with guest speaker DJ Mel Boogie – on-air, event and tour DJ as well as the first female chair of the Juno Awards Rap Advisory Board.
Dr. Francesca D’Amico-Cuthbert
Francesca D’Amico-Cuthbert is an award-winning historian of American and Canadian Hip Hop culture, the creative industries, and the music marketplace. She holds a Ph.D. in History from York University in Toronto, Canada (2019) and has served as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto (2020-2022) and the University of Calgary (2022-2023). Her doctoral research traced how American emcees in the era of mass incarceration constructed complex ethnographies of urban spaces, transformed dispositions of power, and unmasked the modes and mechanisms of a persistent and haunting coloniality in the afterlives of American slavery. Her recent postdoctoral research explores Canadian Hip Hop’s relationship to national mythmaking, commerce, anti-Black market segmentation and the availability of state revenue streams and marketplace exposure. Her research has been published in: #HipHopEd: The Compilation on Hip Hop Education, The Journal of Canadian Historical Association, Canadian Journal of History, Musicworks, and The Dance Current.
As an Hip Hop educator Francesca has taught several courses on the histories of popular culture, including “Hip Hop and the City” – a course that explores Hip Hop’s evolution from a translocal urban art form to a global commodity. In addition to being a multi-disciplinary creative with training in vocal and instrumental music, dance, and the dramatic arts, Francesca also serves as the Chief Research Officer at the New York City based Hip Hop Hop Education Center where she works collaboratively to establish Hip Hop Education standards and the professionalization of the field.