Hip-Hop Philosophy Course at Texas A&M

Blog       September 10, 2010 6:43 PMBy:        0 comments

Professor Tommy J. Curry at Texas A&M University is teaching a controversial course this fall entitled “Introduction to Hip-Hop Philosophy: Critical Advocacy of Philosophical Ideals through the Hip-Hop Medium,” which has little to no educational value whatsoever. Click here to see the full syllabus.

The capacity of the class is five students according to Howdy Portal and has a teaching assistant.

The full course description reads:

This class aims to introduce the student to various philosophical conceptualizations of the human condition. Rather than simply enable the student to recall the thoughts of dead white men and women, who lived centuries ago, this class is interested in allowing the students to become critical advocates of their own life circumstances through the integration of differing cultural and political lens. Much like Hip-Hop, the lessons learned from these readings intend to aid the students in becoming proactive thinkers that are willing to challenge, resist, and when necessary defend the various perspectives that arise from the political, ethical, and personal burdens that accompany their individual freedom and societal responsibilities.

Coursework topics include:

  • INTERLUDE: IS IT ME OR IS PHILOSOPHY BULLSHIT? ROUSSEAU AND KRS 1 ON THE REALITY OF THE PHILOSOPHICAL
  • AIN’T JUST ABOUT THE BOOTY OR IS IT?
  • THE STATE, INCARCERATION AND THE RACISM OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY (SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY
  • BLACK HUMOR, RACIST LANGUAGE, SEXIST MEANING AND ETHICS!

Coursework materials include:

  • From Rhyme to Reason: (Foreword): This shit Ain’t easy.
  • “Alpha Phi Fuckem,” “The Disclaimer,” and “Reflections” by Zane
  • “Spread” by OutKast
  • “How many Licks” by Lil Kim
  • Rap Aesthetics: Violence and the art of keeping it real by Shusterma
  • F*** the Police: Rap, Warfare and the Leviathan by James
  • “Police State” by Dead Prez
  • “F***the Police” by N.W.A.
  • “Political Prisoners, Prisons and Black Liberation” by Angela Davis, a communist and former member of the Black Panthers and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)
  • “On Violence” by Fanon
  • “For all my N***** and Bitches” by J. Angelo Corlett

As a student senator, at the last Student Senate meeting, I had the opportunity to ask Karan Watson, the interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, what educational value this course has. She replied:

I know of absolutely no curriculum at Texas A&M that requires any student to take that class, ok. So, one of the values of being at a university is that you can enroll, if you choose, in classes that sometimes you may find very very important to your future career and sometimes you have some interest in. If the class never has anybody interested in it, it doesn’t get taught.

I then asked her what sort of career a student taking this course would go into. She replied:

Social work. Maybe mass media. I don’t know. As an electrical engineering faculty member, I can tell you there are people who wonder about whether Electromagnetics 3 has any value to society whatsoever, ok. Nonetheless, we offer it. Does it ever fill up with hundreds of students?  Never, ever, ever, ok. But for some students, it is something that is interesting to them, believe it or not, it really is something interesting to them because it just is. So I will tell you one of the things we’ve told all the deans, and all our department heads are working on this, is we can’t afford to teach classes that are under-enrolled. So they have to meet the enrollment standards we’ve set before they can teach the class….

I finally asked her if she knew what the capacity of the class was. She replied:

I don’t know it off-hand. Typically for classes like that they would not set it to be large than 20 students.

I told her the capacity was five students. She denied this was the case. But I took a screen shot of the Howdy Portal so that everyone can see that the capacity was officially listed as five students.

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