“I Gotta Testify”: Conversations on Kanye West, Religion & Hip-Hop

Is Kanye West taking his listeners to heaven or hell?  Is he a modern day bluesman promoting the devil’s music or a secular alternative to traditional as well as contemporary religious music?  These are important questions to consider when evaluating the spiritual characteristics of hip-hop’s most polarizing artist.  We are seeking contributors to our forthcoming volume: “I Gotta Testify:” Conversations on Kanye West, Religion & Hip-Hop.  Multiple books have been published on hip-hop icon Kanye West including Mark Beaumont’s Kanye West: God and Monster (2015) and Justin Bailey’s The Cultural Impact of Kanye West(2014).   But there has yet to be an entire academic study devoted to the emcee’s influence on the discussion of religion and spirituality in hip-hop.  This edited volume will be composed of multidisciplinary essays and short meditations that explore this topic.  The goal of this project is to add a new perspective to the scholarly discourse on hip-hop and religion within classrooms, religious institutions, and popular culture by focusing on one of hip-hop’s most influential artist in the past decade.  Dr. Michael Eric Dyson has been confirmed to write the foreword.  Thus far we have accepted essays written by scholars from Villanova University, Louisville University, Lehigh University, Cheyney University, Xavier University, and the University of Maryland.  Approved topics thus far include (1) Kanye West and the spirituality of the millennial generation, (2) Yeezianity and the human condition, (3) Kanye’s “god” complex and the philosophy of the Five Percent Nation, (4) A Hermeneutics of Suspicion in the Sacred Art and Celebrity Life of Kanye West, and (5) A sacred reinterpretation of “Blood on the Leaves.”  Potential contributors should send a 300-500 word abstract of their essay in Times New Roman 12-point font and a 150-300 word bio to Joshua K. Wright (jkwright1492@yahoo.com) and CC VaNatta Ford (vanattaford@gmail.com) by February 1, 2016. Accepted proposals will be notified by March 9, 2016.  Completed chapter drafts should written in Chicago style and will be due by July 18, 2016.   If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to email us. We hope you would consider supporting this endeavor and look forward to hearing from you soon.

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