“We Don’t Have Those American Problems”: Anti-Blackness, Exclusion, and the History of Canadian Rap Music
Francesca D’Amico-Cuthbert, post-doctoral fellow, Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto
Chair: Marlene Gaynair, William Lyon Mackenzie King Postdoctoral Fellow, Canada Program, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
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Francesca D'Amico-Cuthbert (Ph.D., York University) is a post-doctoral fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute (University of Toronto) and a researcher for the Universal Hip Hop Museum (set to open in 2024 in the Bronx, New York City). Dr. D’Amico-Cuthbert’s research explores the history of American and Canadian Black popular music, the creative industries, and histories of anti-Blackness in the music marketplace. Her current postdoctoral research maps a social history of power relations between Canadian Hip Hop practitioners, creative marketplace elites, and state-actors in an attempt to historicize Canadian Rap music’s relationship to commerce, anti-Black market segmentation and the availability of state revenue streams and marketplace exposure. Her forthcoming book project, a history of American Hip Hop knowledge production in the era of mass incarceration, outlines how Black rappers constructed complex ethnographies of urban spaces, transformed dispositions of power, and unmasked the modes and mechanisms of a persistent and haunting coloniality in the afterlives of American slavery.
Dr. D’Amico-Cuthbert is the winner of the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association’s Best Article Prize (2015) for her piece titled “The Mic Is My Piece:’ Canadian Rap, the Gendered ‘Cool Pose’ and Music Industry Racialization and Regulation” – the first article authored by a historian on the history of Canadian Hip Hop and Rap music. In addition to publishing her research in several edited volumes, the Canadian Journal of History, and the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, her work has also been featured in the first compilation on Hip Hop education pedagogy, #HipHopEd: The Compilation on Hip-hop Education, Volume 1: Hip-hop as Education, Philosophy and Practice (edited by Christopher Emdin and Edmund S. Adjapong, 2018). She currently serves on the program committee for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) Canada’s Working in Music Conference, and as a researcher for Fresh, Bold and So Def (a Hip Hop feminist intervention project) and the Hip Hop Education Center, a think-tank focussed on Hip Hop education, pedagogy, and approaches to social change.