Seminar investigates hip hop in South Africa

The next instalment in the Beyond Multiculturalism: Back to Cosmopolitanism(s) series of informal talks and presentations titled, "Hip hop Black Globality and Vernacular Cosmopolitanism in the new South Africa", will take place today, from 2 to 4pm, in 286C Winters College. Sponsored by York’s Graduate Program in Social Anthropology, Graduate Program in Social & Political Thought, Faculty of Education and Founders College, the series brings together academic and political concerns in scholarly debate.

Today’s presentation will be given by Remi Warner (PhD ‘07), a researcher with the Ontario government and contract faculty member in York’s Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Arts.

Drawing on his year-long fieldwork in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa, Warner’s presentation will examine some of the ways in which globally circulating hip hop popular musical-cultural forms and practices have been appropriated and deployed by South African youth to negotiate contemporary and inherited legacies of ascriptive ethnic and racial identification.

Warner will introduce and discuss the concept of "Black globality" as an alternative framework for understanding the multiple, varied and shifting kinds of identifications, affiliations and social imaginaries forged by and between citizens of the global hip hop nation. The presentation focuses in particular on vernacular cosmopolitan hip hop cultural practices produced under conditions of Black globality, a primary outcome of an agonistic fusion of horizons and re-invigorated ethico-political debate.

Warner has a PhD in social anthropology from York University. His research explores the politics and poetics of race and place, and the impact of the globalization of Black popular culture on youth identity, cultural politics and racial formation in post-apartheid Cape Town and Johannesburg. He has also published on hip hop in Canada. He currently works as a researcher with the provincial government while also teaching the undergraduate course, Race, Racism and Popular Culture, in York’s Department of Anthropology.

Cosmopolitanism, as a critical concept that brings together academic and political concerns, has featured prominently in contemporary scholarly debates, signaling a renewed attention to the complex ways in which globalization, nationalism and questions of citizenship and multiculturalism are being linked together in the context of a post 9/11 world.

For more information, e-mail Professor Daniel Yon in the Faculty of Education at or call ext. 88806.