Journal of World Popular Music, Vol 5, No 2 (2018)

“Yo Nací Caminando”: Community-Engaged Scholarship, Hip Hop as Postcolonial Studies, and Rico Pabón’s Knowledge of Self

J. Griffith Rollefson
Issued Date: 28 Dec 2018

Abstract


This article outlines an open, decentred and unfinished vision for community-engaged scholarship in hip hop studies. Employing examples from the Hip Hop as Postcolonial Studies initiative at the University of California, Berkeley, it elaborates in theory and method how (and why) hip hop's community knowledges might (and should) be better valued and leveraged in university contexts. The article argues that hip hop is itself a form of open (and vulnerable) scholarship; that hip hop's core praxis of "knowledge of self" (KoS) is an intellectually and artistically rigorous form of (counter)history; that hip hop is postcolonial studies. By examining artist-facilitator Rico Pabón's pivotal role in the initiative, the article elaborates how hip hop's performed KoS calls into question our reliance on the professorial structure of the university knowledge trade. Centring on a "questing" track that gives this article its title, it shows how the seamless and unfinished unity of Pabón's knowledge/performance, content/form and theory/method can model ways in which to decentre our scholarly praxis and bring our decolonial theory into a pedagogical form more befitting of postcolonial studies.

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DOI: 10.1558/jwpm.37841

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