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Professor Murray Forman Heads to Graz, Austria to Deliver Public Lectures + Co-Teach Course

Professor Murray Forman.

Northeastern faculty member Murray Forman, Media and Screen Studies, will be delivering two public lectures and co-teaching a course to an international audience in Graz, Austria this summer. He will be covering a range of relevant topics that relate to the emerging field of hip hop studies, as well as communication and critical age studies.

Professor Forman’s first public lecture will be at the University of Graz (Austria) on June 27th, hosted by the Center for Inter-American Studies (CIAS). His talk will summarize the different ways in which hip-hop artists have, over the years, defined “the real” and articulated notions of authenticity in relation to identity and persona.

Professor Forman, who has been engaged in research about hip hop culture for more than twenty-five years, will isolate and analyze a crucial shift (which he describes as still underway), encompassing the open and unvarnished admission of mental health issues and other inner emotional and psychological issues that differ greatly from expressions of masculine hardness and “swagger” of hip hop’s earlier period. As he explains, today’s hip-hop youth (and increasingly older artists as well) are more willing to publicly express their fears, doubts, and vulnerabilities – all contributing to a new or altered concept of “the real” in hip-hop.

The second public lecture, entitled Age and the Archive: A Hip-Hop Version, will be part of the Graz International Summer School at Seggau Castle, Austria. In this presentation, Professor Forman addresses the fact that global hip-hop culture is currently experiencing an intensification of archival activity – its archival turn – that is related to the aging of the culture and of its participants/artists.

“In this talk, I will explain and analyze some of the stakes involved in hip-hop’s archival practices, critically unpacking the ways in which hip-hop archives emerge in relation to age, reputation and legacies, memory, inheritance, preservation, nostalgia, and the tensions between community-based creativity and institutional authority,” he explained. “This work on the hip-hop archive corresponds with a book project that I am currently co-editing.”

While in Graz, Professor Forman will also co-teach a course titled “Ageing, Communication and Technologies.” In this course, he will introduce concepts in the emerging field of critical age studies, analyzing issues of ageism, intersectional theory, and various aspects of age, culture, media and society.

“It’s a really great opportunity for me and I am proud to carry the Northeastern banner as I participate in the program,” said Professor Forman. “The program is international in scope, both in terms of the faculty and students, and the range of themes is broad and rich. By all accounts of previous summer sessions, it is an intense and highly rewarding experience.”

Forman has contributed greatly to the emerging field of hip-hop studies, and is the author of The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) and One Night on TV is Worth Weeks at the Paramount: Popular Music on Early Television (Duke University Press, 2012). He is co-editor (with Mark Anthony Neal) of That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (Routledge, 1st edition 2004; 2nd edition, 2012). He was an inaugural recipient of the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship at the Hip-Hop Archive, the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University (2014-2015). We look forward to hearing about his travels and activities abroad!