There is no limit to the unique “creativity” associated with programs that are being developed by the current crop of educators.
Accuracy in Academia’s Executive Director Malcolm A. Kline reports on an interesting software application that addresses essential questions regarding the historical relevancy of rap songs, which was discussed at a recent educational convention.
Those who think college offers no material relevant to the current scene might be pleasantly, or unpleasantly, surprised. At the 2013 Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in Boston, Corrie Claiborne of Morehouse College told listeners of a new computer application that enables students to obtain historical background on rap songs.
“Like if you hear, ‘I’m Che Guevara with bling on,’ you can click on Che Guevara and find out who he was,” she explained. One wonders whether this is an ambition to be pursued.
Guevara was the military advisor to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who overthrew the Batista regime on the island nation. “From 1959 to 1960, the new government carried out summary executions of at least 1,118 people by firing squad. Guevara himself presided over the notorious La Cabaña prison, where hundreds of the executions took place,” Thor Halverson of the Human Rights Foundation notes. “For comparison’s sake, the Batista regime was responsible for 747 noncombatant deaths between 1952 and 1959.”
Kline offers a bit more background on the associated Hip Hop Institute and one of its faculty, who was on the panel discussing the new application.
For her part, anthropologist Marceleine Morgan, who spoke on the panel on Digital Diasporas with Claiborne, started the Hip Hop Archives at the W. E. B. Dubois Institute at Harvard. “Students started bring me their things and I ran out of space to store it,” she explained to the audience. “If I left it in the garage, my mother would have thrown it out.”
“Then I started the archives. Archives means it’s protected.” The archives, she points out, are a “research institute and a think tank.”
The Hip Hop Institute has fellows and a newsletter: “The two most popular issues were on the 2012 election and the one that came out on Valentine’s Day.” Additionally, “When someone puts out a book on hip hop, we try to gather together with experts who know something about it,” she adds.
Morgan and Claiborne were both upbeat and rather sunny. “One of the things I love about being an academic is that it fulfills my ambition to be an actress,” she said. “I don’t have to be up there on the silver screen.”
“Hip hop has a saying: ‘Get in where you fit in.’”
It might be nice if professors got this excited and innovative when teaching American History.