Rap, Racial Alliances, and Activism: Asian American Studies in the Contemporary Political Moment

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
4:30 pm
Boyd Hall 107

This talk illustrates how we can draw upon the methods and approaches of Asian American Studies to forge our way in the contemporary political context. Using examples from her ethnographic research on hip-hop, including South Asian American MCs from the West Coast, rappers in the Arab Spring, and Hawaiian, Asian, and Black rap, reggae, and jazz artists in Hawai'i, Professor Sharma delves into the political potential of popular culture in cultivating cross racial and international alliances. Following the global routes of Black expressive musics, this talk highlights the importance of a politicized and comparative race approach to the conditions that we find ourselves in, both within and outside of our universities and our nations.

Dr. Sharma's research charts how Hawai‘i’s Black residents including Black hapas negotiate race, indigeneity, and culture. This work speaks to debates in Mixed Race Studies, Comparative Race Studies, and Diaspora Studies to analyze Blackness in the Pacific and offer new theories of belonging that emerge from the intersection of race and indigeneity.

Nitasha Sharma is Associate Professor at Northwestern University. She is the author of Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness (Duke, 2010).

Organized by Asian & Asian American Studies (GIC), with financial support from Black World Studies and the Department of English​

Nitasha Sharma
Nitasha Sharma
Director, Asian American Studies Program, Northwestern University