The Important History Behind the Music: Afro-American Studies 154 Hip-Hop and Contemporary American Society

The hip-hop culture we know today extends far beyond the music and is deeply rooted in African American history. All students who love music and have an interest in history and contemporary social issues are guaranteed to appreciate AfroAmer 154. 

Professor Alexander Shashko’s voice carries through the lecture hall in a way that makes you continuously excited about the course material. His lectures are engaging and the content he speaks about is important and relevant in today’s society. While an essential (and fun) part of the class is listening to music and analyzing the sounds and lyrics for evidence on how hip-hop culture has evolved, you will study the music’s relationship to various social and political issues. For instance, you will learn how African American artists have historically used their music and their voice to protest issues such as police brutality and racism. You will also learn how hip-hop has had a misogynistic reputation, but is now beginning to become a platform for female empowerment through a new wave of female hip-hop artists. 

The main lecture consists of a couple hundred students, but each discussion section section, which only meets once a week, remains small at about 24 students each. This class is offered during both Fall and Spring semesters and fulfills the Ethnic Studies requirement.

In taking this course, I gained a new wealth of knowledge on topics that I never would have learned about outside of this classroom and I gained a new appreciation for the music that I listen to every day.

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