the baldwin conference, nyu (feb, 2011)

hi guys,

here’s a peek at some of the scholarly work i’m doing.  generally i focus on hip hop and the south asian integration of american popular culture.  here’s an abstract i wrote for the upcoming james baldwin conference, “james baldwin’s global imagination,” at new york university (February 18-20, 2011).

Problems with Authority:  French New Wave Cinema and Hip Hop Cinema.

One of many civil rights era expatriates in Paris, Baldwin’s early 1950’s cultural and political fertilization of Left Bank radicalism helped propel French New Wave cinema to challenge aesthetic norms and state authority, qualities threaded all through the fabric of Hip Hop Cinema.  The French Nouvelle movement pushed aesthetics into new territories, but stayed politically centrist during the bloody years of the Algerian War. How is the separation of the aesthetic and the political avant-garde in the FNW movement a luxury, emblematic of the relatively privileged position of its pillared members?  Alternatively, the classic era of 90’s Hip Hop cinema fired round after round into an explicitly political, aesthetic avant-garde.

For example, director John Singleton was an auteur who in, Boyz in the Hood, told a story he was not supposed to tell in a narrative style that broke open new terrain in image and sound worlds. Like Jean-Luc Godard, this auteur was willing to destabilize status quo narrative expectations using a rebel sonic texture.

Towards finding this lineage, I pull two signatory aspects of French New Wave cinema towards parallel treatments within Hip Hop cinema.  Specifically, the paper delves into the French New Wave’s treatment of the personal through virtuoso beginning sequences, and their use of rebellious sonic textures. The paper deploys textual and contextual methodological practices, drawing from cultural studies and narrative analyses to develop a connection between French New Wave and Hip Hop cinema.


school has its perks, for sure.  merry xmas week!


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