Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

2nd Meeting of the European HipHop Studies Network

Posted: October 26th, 2018 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

ELEMENTS BRISTOL, 06-08 June 2019
University of Bristol, UK

Emceeing. DJing. Breaking. Graffiti. Hip-hop is commonly understood to consist of these four elements. The idea of four elements is one of hip-hop culture’s core narrative and most pervasive founding myth since its beginnings in the Bronx in the 1970s. Yet, the idea of four core elements has been highly contested since the beginning of the culture as there is no unified definition of how many elements exist, who defined them, and how they came together. For instance, hip-hop founding father Kool Herc believes that “that there are far more than those [four elements]: the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you look, the way you communicate.” (Chang xi) Likewise, on his album Kristyles, KRS ONE introduces his theory of nine elements which include beatboxing, fashion, knowledge, and entrepreneurialism (“Nine Elements”). On the other hand, researchers such as criminologist Jeffrey Ross also emphasize that “graffiti […] was established long before hip-hop music emerged in the South Bronx, and many of its practitioners do not identify with the music or its subculture at all” (139). While their number is contested, hip-hop’s elements are crucial in understanding the logics, conventions, and values of this fascinating culture in the US and in Europe. They reveal its creative tensions as well as larger notions of authority, authorship, boundary formation, community as well as inclusion and exclusion.

The second meeting of the European HipHop Studies Network therefore explores one of hip-hop’s most central ideas, the ideas of elements: Who defines them? What do they tell us about cultural, social, and economic communities and boundaries across Europe? How do these limits vary according to various contexts and practices across Europe? What are their consequences for cultural production and consumption? The objective of the meeting is to trace, interrogate, and expand the notion of elements as central organizing principles in hip-hop culture and their variations across Europe.


We invite papers, panels, performances, and contributions from a wide variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and angles. Scholarly disciplines include but are not limited to art history, cultural studies, black studies, ethnography, geography, graffiti studies, literary studies, musicology, pedagogy, performance studies, philosophy, political science, sociology, and visual culture studies. Artistic contributions include performances, themed panels of any format, lecture-recitals, and philosophies which combine research and praxis (or practice-as-research).

Artistic and scholarly proposals engaging with European hip-hop’s elements (those based both in Europe and outside of it) should include a title, 250 word abstract of their contribution and short biographical sketch. This should be submitted to [email protected] no later than 31 January 2019. We especially welcome papers that engage with less-academically-visible work, and from artists and practitioners from a wider variety of backgrounds. We hope to see you in Bristol!

About the Network

The European HipHop Studies Network was founded in Dortmund in March 2018. It aims at fostering exchange and cooperation between artists, practitioners, scholars, educators, policy makers, and the wider public in, across, and on Europe. The network is dedicated to promoting research on hip-hop culture(s) in, on, and about Europe and to creating respect for it in its respective communities as well as among cultural and political authorities. Based on hip-hop’s principles of respect, openness, and mutual understanding, the network’s idea of “Europe” refers to the continent and its people including its transnational and postcolonial histories and trajectories. It is inclusive in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, age, geographical origin, and ability.

Network Organizing Committee:
Séverin Guillard (University Paris Est Créteil)
Sergey Ivanov (aka Grand PaP) (DA EXIT NGO)
James McNally (University of Bristol)
Sina Nitzsche (Ruhr University Bochum/TU Dortmund University)
J. Griffith Rollefson (University College Cork)
Venla Sykäri (University of Helsinki)
Justin Williams (University of Bristol)

Justin Williams: [email protected]

Network Website:

Network Facebook:

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