Close to the Edge

As the interlinked crises of contemporary capitalist culture deepen around the globe, it’s clear that today more than ever we need strong forms of internationalist thinking and organizing. One of the most compelling theoretical frameworks offered in this regard by intellectuals over the last few decades has been that of diaspora. For writers such as Paul Gilroy and Hazel Carby, the diasporic world of the Black Atlantic communicates through circuits of culture that challenge narrow nationalism and help cohere powerful international networks of solidarity. Hip hop is probably the primary vehicle for such cosmopolitan cultural exchanges that we have today. It is also, of course, a commodity form that sometimes flaunts and trades in reactionary stereotypes. To what extent are hip hop cultures around the world today in communication with one another? Do they offer us concrete examples of the kind of internationalism evoked by writers such as Gilroy and Carby? Is a commodified cultural form such as hip hop commensurate with the massive challenges facing us today? In her recent book Close to the Edge, Social Text collective member Sujatha Fernandes explores these and many other questions through the lens of global hip hop. This Periscope presents readers with a selection from her book as well as a series of engagements with her work and with the culture(s) of global hip hop by interlocutors of hers from various parts of the world.

Leaping Towards The Edge

anthony kwame harrison

  One of my earliest recollections of the contradictions inherent in hip hop’s global spread happened in July 1995 when I, rather suddenly, noticed my friend Marwan’s younger brother Samir pointing at me and singing “I said Hello Everybody” from … Continue reading “Leaping Towards The Edge”