How does Hip-Hop reframe our conception of space? DuBois Institute Colloquim, 4/13

The W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and American Research at Harvard University is hosting independent scholar, Theodore Miller, on Wednesday April 13, 2011 from 12:00-1:30 PM.

Deconstructing the Beggar’s Edifice: The Failure of Civil Rights & the Battle for Place in Hip Hop America


Utilizing the prophetic framework of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s April 1967 conception in his “Vietnam No More” speech of what I term the “beggar’s edifice” and with particular emphasis on the lived and built environment in urban America, we examine what legal and hiphop scholars have characterized as a failed legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. Adolescents living in America’s urban core today are statistically more likely to die prematurely, on parole, without pension and with a negative net worth than their predecessor generations notwithstanding the legal gains of the Movement. Why is the neighborhood so “poor”? Or is it? And how does hiphop reframe our conception of this pervasive “place”?

Through the case studies of urban developers interested in social entrepreneurship, hiphop collectives focused on community (re)development and multiple hiphop “battles” for space and place, we look at personal “cribs” and familial and communal dimensions of space and place in “hiphop America” through the eyes of practitioners.  Highlighting problems and opportunities in a “winner-take all” society in which hiphop is often heard but disregarded, we hope this conversation might contribute to more socially useful and innovative models of social change and (re)development in the urban core.

The Colloqium takes place in the Thompson Room, Barker Center, 12 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA. There will be a question and answer period after the lecture. Please feel free to bring a lunch. Check out the DuBois Institute website for more information. Will you be there? Want to submit a live blog on Plurale Tantum? Contact us at: