CFP Hip-Hop Archives: The Politics and Poetics of Knowledge Production

Hip-Hop Archives
The Politics and Poetics of Knowledge Production

Edited by Mark V. Campbell (Ryerson University) and Murray Forman (Northeastern University)

As editors of this book, we seek contributions that critically address hip-hop archives (both digital and physical) and the processes of archivization, encompassing theoretical and analytical perspectives and exploring globally dispersed cases. We particularly welcome contributions from individuals who are in some way actively engaged in the development or operation of hip-hop archives in any medium and at any stage or scale, whether independent collections or institutionally supported enterprises. We also value the various ways in which hip-hop culture is engaged from historical and material perspectives, allowing for examination of the archive as a historical apparatus as well as a contemporary physical assemblage of artifacts.
This book focuses on the culture and politics involved in building, maintaining, and researching hip-hop archives. It addresses practical aspects, including methods of accumulation, curation, preservation, and digitization and critically analyzes institutional power, community engagement, urban economics, public access, and the ideological implications associated with hip-hop culture’s enduring tensions with dominant social values.

Roughly forty-five years since hip-hop culture emerged, a broad and sizeable array of material artifacts, recorded materials, and various cultural ephemera has accumulated. Pioneering artists, life-long fans, industry mavens, and keen collectors have amassed collections of artifacts that are essential to the definition of localized hip-hop scenes, providing crucial insights onto the people, places, aesthetics and other often-obscure details that trace the arc of cultural development. Included in these collections are photographs, event flyers and posters, recordings (in multiple configurations), video materials, magazines, clothing and other stylistic signifiers, personal papers and notebooks, and oral history recordings. These materials, and their archival existence, have thus far received only scant scholarly attention within a sustained critical framework and, thus, this book seeks to enhance an understanding of hip-hip culture more widely by expanding our knowledge and understanding about the emergent role of hip-hop archives.

Archives are generally a response to a need to actively preserve a culture, allowing for present and future citizens to access and interpret the evolution of a people’s innovations and endeavors. Archives encompass facets of heritage and legacy, merging the temporal past with present and future implications. They are repositories of cultural histories and, as such, they are also sites for the amplification of narratives and other representational forms that, in their diversity, disseminate symbolic values and meanings. At the current cultural moment, digitization also amplifies the ubiquity and importance of archival processes in relation to hip-hop’s ongoing vitality. The archiving of hip-hop culture consequently offers a powerful initiative that simultaneously celebrates the achievements of cultural forebears while critically engaging with ideologies, social and political issues, economic forces, and artistic creativity, repositioning the once-marginal practices and attitude associated with hip-hop at the center of larger debates about the character of our urban environments and cultural priorities.

The book aims to present rigorous scholarly research that critically and theoretically examines hip-hop’s archival turn, including interrogating the distinctions between small, independent archives and collections as well as those that feature larger holdings and that are institutionally located in public and university libraries or national spaces such as the U.S. Smithsonian Institute. Further emphasis will be placed on the ways in which hip-hop archives mobilize community involvement, facilitating engagements that take various shapes and have diverse implications for how local hip-hop scenes envision themselves and their relationship to the wider hip-hop culture.

Of this latter point, the book strongly advocates for a global perspective. We invite chapters with a pronounced international foundation, seeking to draw on the insights and archival practices enacted in multiple national contexts, exploring the constraining and enabling factors that arise in dispersed locales.

Deadline for Proposals: April 1st, 2019
Proposals should be 250 words
Proposals can be submitted in word.doc format to:
Mark V. Campbell: or Murray Forman: