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Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity [Paperback]

Marc Lamont Hill , Gloria Ladson-Billings
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 15, 2009 0807749605 978-0807749609
''Hill's book is a beautifully written reminder that the achievement gaps that students experience may be more accurately characterized as cultural gaps--between them and their teachers (and the larger society). This is a book that helps us see the power and potential of pedagogy. It is not merely what Hill decides to teach that matters. It is also how he teaches it that connects with the students.''
-- From the Foreword by Gloria Ladson-Billings, University of Wisconsin-Madison

''Offering a complex representation of the history, uses, and modes of storytelling that has made hip-hop one of the most powerful markers of contemporary youth culture, Marc Lamont Hill has written a book that brilliantly engages all of the important issues about youth, memory, race, and education that are crucial to understanding and engaging hip-hop culture. This book is invaluable for anyone interested in hip-hop culture, identity, education, and youth.''
-- Henry Giroux, author, The Abandoned Generation: Democracy Beyond the Culture of Fear, Global Television Network Chair in English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University, Ontario

For over a decade, educators have looked to capitalize on the appeal of hip-hop culture, sampling its language, techniques, and styles as a way of reaching out to students. But beyond a fashionable hipness, what does hip-hop have to offer our schools? In this revelatory new book, Marc Lamont Hill shows how a serious engagement with hip-hop culture can affect classroom life in extraordinary ways. Based on his experience teaching a hip-hop-centered English literature course in a Philadelphia high school, and drawing from a range of theories on youth culture, identity, and educational processes, Hill offers a compelling case for the power of hip-hop in the classroom. In addition to driving up attendance and test performance, Hill shows how hip-hop based educational settings enable students and teachers to renegotiate their classroom identities in complex, contradictory, and often unpredictable ways.

Frequently Bought Together

Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity + Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation + The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children
Price for all three: $54.04

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Editorial Reviews


''This book marks the time where our modern literature changes from entertainment to education. A study guide for our next generation using the modern day struggle into manhood and beyond.'' --- M-1, from dead prez

''This is one of the most profound, searching, and insightful studies of what happens to the identities and worldviews of high school students who are exposed to a hip-hop curriculum. With Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life, Hill establishes himself as one of the most gifted young interpreters of hip-hop culture and educational experience in the nation.''
--Michael Eric Dyson, author of Can You Hear Me Now?

About the Author

Marc Lamont Hill is Associate Professor of English Education and Anthropology at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has lectured widely and provides regular commentary for media outlets like NPR, the Washington Post, Essence Magazine, and the New York Times. He is also a political contributor for Fox News Channel, where he appears regularly to provide counterpoint on programs such as The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes. Prior to joining Fox News, Dr. Hill was a regular guest on CNN, MSNBC, and CourtTV.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press (May 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807749605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807749609
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting topic, questionable authorial tone February 20, 2010
I would really like to like this book. I am having a lot of trouble doing so. It seems problematic that the author defines and appears to teach hip-hop as "authentic Black space" - isn't this essentializing - perhaps leaving out for example, Jamaican Americans and Latino Americans? So many of the examples provided seemed masculinist and essentializing, and yet the author refers to "otherness" so frequently that one would have higher hopes for his inquiry with students. As a reader and fellow educator, I had trouble with Professor Lamont Hill's rather heartless critique of his colleague (in hip-hop curriculum building) as someone who was "not an effective classroom teacher." Hill went on to divulge a story in which other teachers laughed at his idea of collaborating with this colleague, but for some reason Hill went forward with the project. I was then also curious as to why his collaborator was not a co-author. This would seem to warrant some explanation, particularly given that the author is an anthropologist. Hill goes on to posit this collaborator as a sort of Foucaultian "voyeur." What about the authors own voyeurism across cultures and genders - or while addressing topics he chose for this curriculum, such as abortion? As a female, I was especially troubled by the ways in which the author allows male students to speak for themselves via lengthy block quotes as disembodied authorial voices, while Hill himself gives female students fragmented voice along with somewhat objectifying descriptions of their person, their clothing, even their tattoos. There are gender and racial politics here that I wish were addressed more thoroughly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars must read for anyone interested in alternative education February 15, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent book! Very captivating view of inner city high school and a teacher who was determined to meet the kids on their own territory.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Effort June 19, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hill's book is a honest description of his efforts to use hip-hop with high school students to get them more engaged with their educations. Hill reveals the challenges of this approach, even for someone like himself who is familiar with hip-hop music. I appreciated Hill's honesty and think that many high school teachers could benefit from the book.
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