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Africa Rising:
Hip Hop, Politics, and Critical Resilience

Faculty Led by Professor Ima Hicks

Africa Rising: Hip Hop, Politics and Critical Resilience in Senegal will focus on the ways hip- hop and urban cultures are changing the political, religious, and economic landscape in Senegal and, by extrapolation, in the African continent. It will look at the ways African urban hip-hop challenges the colonial matrix of power and participates in the consolidation of democracy in Senegal. Participants will examine the ways African urban hip-hop functions as decolonial pedagogical praxes and counterhegemonic movements against cultural and economic imperialism and issues such as poverty and sexism in Senegal.

July 3-31, 2024


Our Partners!

West Africa Research Center

The West African Research Center (WARC) is the West African Research Association’s abroad research facility. It’s situated in Dakar, Senegal. WARC is a center for intellectual interaction between American and West African researchers that promotes research in West Africa.

The concept for the abroad center emerged in May 1992 and was realized in the fall of 1993. WARC has expanded in terms of personnel and impact as it continues to link scholars in the United States with researchers in West Africa who are interested in similar subjects.

Since its foundation, WARC has organized and funded several symposiums, conferences, and workshops.

Virginia Union University

VUU has been selected as a 2023 U. S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad grantee. The study abroad project, titled “Africa Rising: Hip Hop, Politics, and Critical Resilience in Senegal”, is a four-week project that will bring Ima Hicks, Assistant Professor of Languages and Literature, six VUU students, and six Richmond Public School teachers to the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal in July 2024. This endeavor will help participants understand ways in which youth use a variety of strategies, especially Hip-Hop, and engagement with media and communications technologies, to enhance their role in the change processes of their societies. Rigorous lectures, seminars, and roundtables led by university professors, government officials; and national, local, and regional youth organizations are on the agenda, as are guided visits to culturally and historically relevant sites. Participants will gain knowledge of the history of youth in contemporary Senegal and will learn about the interactions among youth, culture, education, religion, African traditions, and republican institutions. Participants will also improve their proficiency in the French language and understanding of African francophone culture. They will also learn Wolof, the most widely spoken language in the multiethnic, multilingual nation. As Project Director, Professor Hicks will lead a hybrid cohort of Richmond Public Schools teachers and VUU students to explore hip-hop as a philosophical, political, and economic force in Senegal and examine how young Africans use hip-hop to question traditional representations of Africa, imagine the continent’s future, and raise the consciousness of globalization and (in)equality.