Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 49–76 | Cite as

Rap as a roadway: creating creolized forms of science in an era of cultural globalization



Even during an era of cultural globalization where diversity, hybridity, and heterogeneity prevail, educational institutions remain unchanged and economically and racially marginalized students continue to experience a sense of exclusion in school. Whereas the science education community often addresses such exclusion in terms of the achievement gap or the lack of materials and qualified teachers in urban schools, there are also more subtle ways in which these students remain as outsiders to the culture of science. The study highlights how the acceptance and affordance of students’ cultural capital can encourage a sense of belonging with school science. Specifically, this paper contributes to the literature by sharing longitudinal findings that reveal students’ skills of orality, in the form of rap practices, can be rich resources for developing creolized forms of school science, and how rap creates entryways for students to form and reform hybridized identities in which canonical science discourse and lyrics about non-science subjects can begin to emerge in integrated, fluid and seamless manners.


Creolized science Hybridized identities Hip-hop 


  1. Barton, A. C. (2000). Crafting multicultural science education with preservice teachers through service-learning. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 32, 797–820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). New York: Greenwood.Google Scholar
  3. Bourdieu, P. (1990). Homo academics. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Boykin, A. W. (1986). The triple quandary and the schooling of Afro-American children. In U. Neisser (Ed.), The school achievement of minority children: New perspectives (pp. 57–92). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Carter, L. (2005). Globalisation and science education: Rethinking science education reforms. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42, 561–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Elmesky, R. (2005). “I am science and the world is mine:” Embodied practices as resources for empowerment. School Science and Mathematics, 105, 335–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Elmesky, R., & Seiler, G. (2007). Movement expressiveness, solidarity and the (re)shaping of African American students’ scientific identities. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 2, 73–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Emdin, C. (2009a). Affiliation and alienation: Hip-hop, rap and urban science education. Journal of Curriculum Studies (in press).Google Scholar
  9. Emdin, C. (2009b). Reality pedagogy: Hip hop culture and the urban science classroom. In W.-M. Roth (Ed.), Science education from people for people. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Ginwright, S. A. (2004). Black in school: Afrocentric reform, urban youth, & the promise of hip-hop culture. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  11. Kenway, J., & Bullen, E. (2005). Globalizing the young in the age of desire. In M. W. Apple, J. Kenway, & M. Singh (Eds.), Globalizing education: Policies, pedagogies, & politics (pp. 31–44). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  12. LaVan, S. K. (2004). Cogenerating fluency in urban science classrooms. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  13. Lee, C. D. (2001). Is October Brown Chinese? A cultural modeling activity system for underachieving students. American Educational Research Journal, 38, 97–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lee, C. D. (2004). Literacy in the academic disciplines and the needs of adolescent struggling readers. Voices in Urban Education, 3, 14–25.Google Scholar
  15. Neate, P. (2003). Where you’re at. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  16. Nixon, H. (2005). Cultural pedagogies of technology in a globalized economy. In M. W. Apple, J. Kenway, & M. Singh (Eds.), Globalizing education: Policies, pedagogies, & politics (pp. 45–60). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  17. Roth, W.-M. (2006). Making and remaking self in urban schooling: Identity as dialectic. In J. L. Kincheloe, K. Hayes, K. Rose, & P. M. Anderson (Eds.), The Praeger handbook of urban education (pp. 143–153). Westport, CT: Greenwood.Google Scholar
  18. Roth, W.-M. (2008). Bricolage, métissage, hybridity, heterogeneity, diaspora: Concepts for thinking science education in the 21st century. Cultural Studies of Science Education. doi:10.1007/s11422-008-9113-1.
  19. Roth, W.-M., & Barton, A. C. (2004). Rethinking scientific literacy. New York: Routledge Falmer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Seiler, G. (2005). All my life I been po’: Orality as a resource for science teaching and learning. In K. Tobin, R. Elmesky, & G. Seiler (Eds.), Improving urban science education: New roles for teachers, students and researchers (pp. 113–130). New York: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  21. Seiler, G., & Elmesky, R. (2007). The role of communal practices in the generation of capital and motional energy among urban African American students in science classrooms. Teachers College Record, 109, 391–419.Google Scholar
  22. Sewell, W. H. (1999). The concept(s) of culture. In V. E. Bonnell & L. Hunt (Eds.), Beyond the cultural turn: New directions in the study of society and culture (pp. 35–61). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  23. Shujaa, M. J. (Ed.). (1994). Too much schooling too little education: A paradox of Black life in White societies. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.Google Scholar
  24. Stovall, D. (2006). We can relate: hip-hop culture, critical pedagogy, and the secondary classroom. Urban Education, 41, 585–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tippins, J. T., & Ritchie, S. (2006). In K. Tobin (Ed.), Teaching and learning science: A handbook (pp. 251–258). Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  26. Tobin, K. (2006). Verbal and nonverbal interactions in science classrooms. In K. Tobin (Ed.), Teaching and learning science: A handbook (pp. 251–258). Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations