Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date



Rap and Resistance: Visions of Self and Society in American, African, and French Hip Hop Music probes the ties between the formation of subjectivity in rap and its strategies of resistance against state, cultural, and societal violence and control of minority groups. This study examines the themes of the body, economy, and social grouping through analyses of rap music and lyrics. The first chapter focuses on state control and violence, particularly in Black populations in the United States. The second investigates the practice of Female Genital Cutting in West Africa and the various responses and activism of African rappers. Chapter three discusses the identities of the economically disadvantaged populations and immigrants who reside in the space of the banlieue and how their image shapes their interactions with French society as a whole. Studying rap music as a cultural expression, a mode of thought, and a politics makes it possible to inform our understanding of the debates and social problems that are currently at the fore among young, marginal groups. Finally, this thesis aims to show how the local and global qualities of rap production make it a vital and revolutionary stage for social change, personal agency, and non-violent communication.


hip hop music, French Rap, African Rap, youth culture, global rap, female genital, police figure, french immigrant, immigrant identity, marginal groups, rap, resistance, social change, hip hop imagination

Document Type




Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Vallury, Rajeshwari

First Committee Member (Chair)

Bishop, Stephen

Second Committee Member

Putnam, Walter