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72283-01 - Seminar: Rememories and Reimaginaries – Hip-Hop and Street Art as Urban Counterculture 3 KP

Semester Frühjahrsemester 2024
Angebotsmuster einmalig
Dozierende Marie Migeon (marie.migeon@unibas.ch)
Pius Jonas Vögele (pius.voegele@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Inhalt Over the past few decades, street art has entered art galleries and grown into a lucrative business. Furthermore, it is strategically being used as a means to make neighbourhoods hip and as such can become an ally of gentrification. Nevertheless, there remains a strong potential of art in urban spaces to challenge hegemonial historical narratives of remembering the past, and as a means to imagine alternatives to the present and trajectories of the future. Whether it is being called graffiti, street art or urban art, these alternative forms of visual artistic expression form part of countercultures in many cities around the world, with brushes and pens as tools of cultural resistance. Initially having emerged out of the precarious living conditions of planned urban spaces in the US, graffiti has rapidly spread globally with the advent of documentaries such as Wildstyle (1983) or Style Wars (1983) as part of a popularization of Hip Hop all over the world. While Hip Hop is undeniably a global culture, it finds unique ways to incorporate the local and regional contexts, and as such is a distinctly forceful expression of glocalization.
Since Hip Hop and street art originated outside of mainstream media and art, it has been particularly embraced by people on the margins and to honour people at the margins, amplifying suppressed voices within oppressive systems of economic, ethnic or racial segregation, such as apartheid. From murals memorializing erased histories of dislocation or forced removals, to performances in public spaces such as parks or street corners, this course will explore their political, social and cultural aspects across a range of geographical spaces in Africa, Europe and Latin America.
This course approaches visual art in the urban space, such as murals, as objects of study in their own right. The course will be anchored in cultural studies, political studies, and history, with students from all disciplines of social sciences encouraged to participate. Furthermore, a broader conception of graffiti writing as a disruptive tool of re-inscription into the public sphere allows for connecting it to the textual in hip-hop music. We will first look at the ways in which hip-hop songs, murals and graffiti have been a means to remember those usually forgotten in official narratives of remembering, and how they have been creating alternate stories of the past. Then, we will also look at the way street art and hip-hop are ways for artists to (re)imagine futures for their communities, bringing new ideas and people into public spaces of art and politics. Finally, the course will also highlight the interconnectedness of these forms of art, the way they enable people from different places in the world to work together and learn from each other. As such, the role of digitalization, particularly social media, will be taken into account.
The weekly seminar will follow different case studies, where hip-hop and street art have been applied as prominent political, social and cultural tools. To this end, we will explore different interdisciplinary methodologies, such as visual methods and close reading. As part of the seminar, we intend to take the class to an immersive tour through Basel as a half-day excursion (tentatively planned for 13.04.2024), to experience art in the streets, both legal and illegal, in order to reach an understanding of the politics involved.
The seminar will be divided in three blocks: remembering, reimagining and interconnecting. Over these three blocks, students will encounter different case studies and develop their understanding of art beyond aesthetics, exploring its political, cultural and social dimensions.
We specifically encourage students to discuss their own fields and regions of interests through the study of urban art, based on the themes and case studies explored over the course of the semester. The course is centered both on three geographical regions (Africa/Latin America/Europe) and on the interconnectedness of street art and hip-hop, giving students the freedom to choose particular case studies in contexts that suit their own interest and disciplinary backgrounds (e.g. graffiti at the Berlin Wall; Palestine murals in Salt River, Cape Town; Irish hip-hop as a means to remember its colonial past etc.).
Lernziele The aim of this seminar is for students to reach an understanding of the intrinsic political dimension of art, by looking at it as a means of pushing the boundaries and exploring alternate possibilities. They will discover new methodologies and case studies to take art seriously as an object of study in the social sciences, and will specifically focus on the ways art can be considered as an agent of change. One of the central learning goals of the seminar is to reach an understanding of the role of urban artforms as a productive space for telling suppressed histories and reimagining futures.
Students will contribute to the course through the different perspectives brought by their various disciplines and will be able to bring back fresh methodologies (visual methods and ...) to their own disciplinary contexts, such as political science, history and cultural studies. Approaching urban art as an object of study through the various disciplinary lenses aims at opening a dialogue between these said disciplines, and will sharpen student’s ability to approach the public space with a critical eye.
Literatur • Alim et al. (Eds.). (2023). Freedom Moves. Hip Hop Knowledges, Pedagogies, and Futures. University of California Press.
• Campos, R., Pavoni, A., & Zaimakis, Y. (Eds.). (2021). Political graffiti in critical times: The aesthetics of street politics (First Edition). Berghahn Books.
Bemerkungen An excursion is scheduled for 27 April 2024 (10:00 - 16:00).


Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz


Intervall Wochentag Zeit Raum
wöchentlich Donnerstag 14.15-16.00 Rheinsprung 21


Datum Zeit Raum
Donnerstag 29.02.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Donnerstag 07.03.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Donnerstag 14.03.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Donnerstag 21.03.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Donnerstag 28.03.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr Ostern
Donnerstag 04.04.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Donnerstag 11.04.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Donnerstag 18.04.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Donnerstag 25.04.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Donnerstag 02.05.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Donnerstag 09.05.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr Auffahrt
Donnerstag 16.05.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Donnerstag 23.05.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Donnerstag 30.05.2024 14.15-16.00 Uhr --, --
Module Modul: Fields: Media and Imagination (Master Studiengang: African Studies)
Modul: Migration, Mobility and Transnationalism (Master Studiengang: Changing Societies: Migration – Conflicts – Resources )
Modul: Sachthemen der Ethnologie (Bachelor Studienfach: Ethnologie)
Modul: The Urban across Disciplines (Master Studiengang: Critical Urbanisms)
Modul: Theory and General Anthropology (Master Studienfach: Anthropology)
Modul: Transfer: Europa interdisziplinär (Master Studiengang: Europäische Geschichte in globaler Perspektive )
Leistungsüberprüfung Lehrveranst.-begleitend
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung Anmelden: Belegen; Abmelden: nicht erforderlich
Wiederholungsprüfung keine Wiederholungsprüfung
Skala Pass / Fail
Wiederholtes Belegen nicht wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Philosophisch-Historische Fakultät, studadmin-philhist@unibas.ch
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Zentrum für Afrikastudien