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Hip-Hop As Education and Inspiration in Brazil and the United States

Hip Hop Pedagogies group photo in Brazil 2023

By: Axelle Miel (Political Science and Music ’24)

Project Roots

The seeds of the Hip-Hop Pedagogies: Education for Citizenship in Brazil and the United States were planted in the early 1990s when Duke historian John French met Alexandre Fortes and Álvaro Nascimento, two doctoral students from Brazil. The three connected through their shared interest in Brazilian labor and class politics and, later, their investment in the community in and around the Baixada Fluminense, a region on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro that is predominantly composed of young people and residents of African descent.

The trio stayed connected as Fortes and Nascimento finished their degrees and began teaching at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, and in 2016, they decided to kick off a Bass Connections project on higher education expansion in Brazil, focused specifically on the Baixada Fluminense.

Over three years, this interinstitutional project team conducted research directed toward fostering social mobility in the region. They interviewed students and faculty, carried out surveys, led focus groups and produced a 27-minute documentary. Three doctoral dissertations emerged from the project as did several undergraduate theses and yearly conferences that showcased the team’s research to both academic and public communities.

Read more on the Bass Connections website

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