Faculty forum to explore Hip Hop

January 17, 2017
Dr. Frank King
Dr. David Gillota

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — How does Hip Hop help those who are marginalized continue to resist systemic oppressions and become more connected spiritually and metaphysically?

To help answer that question, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s College of Liberal Arts and Education will present a faculty forum, “The New Revival: Hip Hop’s Spirituality as an Emancipatory Action,” on Thursday, Feb. 2, in Room 136 Doudna Hall from 5-6:30 p.m.

At the forum, Dr. Frank King, assistant professor of ethnic studies at UW-Platteville, will examine Hip Hop culture as a spiritual paradigm.

King will provide a brief history of Hip Hop and discuss its revolutionary component, connecting it to Afrocentricity and what American rapper and producer KRS-One calls the idea of “Urban Inspirational Metaphysics” – a modern take on ancient ideas of how to understand the inner self and to address real world problems that individuals and communities face daily.

“The premise is to understand who you are and that you are not a product of your environment,” said King. “Crime, violence, despair and hopelessness do not define you or your community, but how you react to these problems can liberate or enslave you. Urban Inspirational Metaphysics teaches to look within yourself, to know who you are, and to let your inner spirit thrive.”

“Most people do not associate Hip Hop culture with spirituality, but it is heavily influenced by Afrocentric spiritual understanding and Black liberation theologies,” said King. “Hip Hop spirituality is a self-created idea of helping marginalized groups continue resisting systemic oppressions and find a connection to the metaphysical. Hip Hop is more than a music often portrayed one way. It can be a means for intellectual, cultural and spiritual emancipation.”

Following King’s presentation, Dr. David Gillota, assistant professor of English at UW-Platteville, will discuss African-American images in comic books, paying particular attention to black superheroes and their ability to challenge harmful African-American stereotypes.

King began teaching at the university in fall 2014. He teaches Introduction to Ethnic Studies as well as Race, Class, and Gender, focusing on the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality and religion. His areas of specialization include Hip Hop pedagogy, the prison-industrial complex, Afrocentric philosophy and African American history.

Gillota began teaching at the university in fall 2008. He teaches African-American Literature, American Literature since the Civil War, American Humor and Freshman Composition I and II. He also has taught Thematic Studies in Literature, Introduction to Ethnic Studies and Race and Gender in American Film.

The forum is free and open to university students, faculty, staff and community members. Refreshments will be served.

The LAE Faculty Forum Series, a program instituted in the fall of 2004, is sponsored by UW-Platteville’s College of LAE. The purpose of the forum is to allow faculty to present information in their research areas. Presenters tailor their presentations to a general audience.

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu


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