Breaking Rules: The 3rd Meeting of the European Hip-Hop Studies Network (EHHSN)
Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 11-13 September 2020
Call for Submissions

The field of hip-hop studies cannot exist without the engagement and involvement of hip-hop practitioners. The organising committee welcomes proposals for contributions to our annual meeting that reflect this understanding. These might ‘break the rules’ of conventional academic conferences in Europe and the committee challenges scholars to embrace the opportunity to use “the masters’ tools to break the masters’ rules” (Lorde).Substantive AND Reflective ContentUndoubtedly the norms, values, and practice of scholarly research have shaped and formed the field of hip-hop studies inside and outside Europe in one way or another. Today, the academy seems finally to haveaccepted hip-hop as a worthy object of study – despite continuing stigmas – and as such hip-hop has won international recognition and critical acclaim. At the same time, the rules, boundaries, and knowledge regimes of living hip-hop culture must have an impact on this field of study as well. As such, these two fields both push and pull researchers in what may sometimes feel as opposite directions.

The fraught issue of legitimacy on both ends of the spectrum (keeping it rigorous AND keepin’ it real), is something hip-hop researchers experience at least once in their academic career. Anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, and sociologists use a wide range of methods to reflect on experiences during their research which trigger questions about legitimacy. But what about hip-hop researchers? In the past, scholars, such as Rose (1994), Perry (2004), Forman and Neal (2004/2011), Snell and Söderman (2014), Dimitriadis (2015), and Şahin (2019), have explored questions of bridging hip-hop scenes with the academy. Current developments, such as digitisation, global migration, and the increasing institutionalisation of hip-hop culture ask for both the deepening of existing methods and the development of new concepts.

For our Network meeting we ask researchers to share both their substantive knowledge about a particular topic of hip-hop culture, as well as their perspective on experiences in which they had to cultivate legitimacy for doing that particular research. We thus invite you to share your experiences of standing with one foot in the academic world and with another in hip-hop culture. In this conference, we will thus give attendees a ‘behind the scenes’ perspective on our journeys in the field of hip-hop studies in, on, and about Europe. What is your method? Please, be open-hearted and open-minded!

By means of combining both substantive content on hip-hop culture AND reflections on issues of legitimacy, we intend to bridge gaps between various traditional academic disciplines, such as anthropology, musicology, sociology, arts, language studies, and their research methods. The committee encourages proposals that tackle the foregoing two topics of substance and reflection – content and context. It is our belief that we can decolonise the presumed “objectivity” of university research, being both creative and critical while still being accountable researchers. Hip-hop studies is an academic field of study and is able, at the same time, to challenge the academic frame and produce new emancipatory knowledges. The objective of this year’s meeting is to create a white paper which reflects our approach to hip-hop studies and which will be published in the framework of the conference.

Format, Proposals, and Selection Process
Since our approach for this meeting is to “break the rules,” we invite researchers and practitioners to rethink their way of dropping knowledge by using interactive formats. We encourage you to deviate from conventional conference presentations. Presentation formats could include living labs, poster presentations, artist-scholar dialogues, interactive workshops, analysis in the moment, performances, action type research, and storytelling. Feel free to contact the committee if you have questions or want to exchange ideas concerning your format of presentation. Proposals can be submitted as audio-/visual and written texts. Audio-/visual texts should be a maximum of two minutes and be submitted as .mp4 file. Written proposals should include a title, 250 word abstract of their contribution and short biographical sketch. Send in your proposal to no later than 29 May 2020. We especially welcome papers that engage with less-academically-visible work, and from artists and practitioners from a wider variety of backgrounds. As far as possible, all proposals will be anonymised before being submitted to the organisation committee. The committee will select proposals between 1 and 12 June 2020. Letters of acceptance and rejection will be sent out until 22 June 2020.

The Meeting
The meeting will take place either in Rotterdam and/or online. We do advise participants not to arrange travel and accommodation until there is clarity about travel conditions in regard to the worldwide corona pandemic. Please consider how to present online and include your ideas in the proposal. Once selected, we will keep everybody informed about the format of the meeting in our social media channels.

More information

Organisation Committee
Joan Biekman (Cultuurschakel The Hague), Amalia Deekman (LKCA), Frieda Frost (Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln), Miriam Geerdes-Gazzah (independent researcher), Steven Gilbers (U of Groningen), Rachel Gillett (Utrecht U), Simon Mamahit (Cultuur Oost & Poppunt Gelderland), Claudia Marinelli (LKCA), James McNally (independent researcher), Sina A. Nitzsche (Ruhr U Bochum), Aafje de Roest (Leiden U), Griff Rollefson (U College Cork), Serhatcan Yurdam (Ege U)

Breaking Rules is being organised in cooperation with the National Centre of Expertise for Cultural Education and Amateur Arts Utrecht (LKCA), Da Bounce Rotterdam, CIPHER: Hip-Hop Interpellation Cork, and various hip-hop partners during the Urban Street Culture Weekend in Rotterdam.