Damon Burchell-Sajnani

Ph.D candidate in African American Studies, Northwestern University

Biography

2014-2015: Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship

Deepening Democracy ‘Galsen’ Style: HipHop and Civil Society in Senegal

Project Description

Deepening Democracy ‘Galsen’ Style: HipHop and Civil Society in Senegal

Senegalese HipHoppers use the adjective “Galsen” (slang for “Senegal”) to signify the specificity of their scene. “Deepening Democracy ‘Galsen’ Style: HipHop and Civil Society in Senegal,” is an interdisciplinary ethnography examining politics, identity, and activism among one of Africa’s foundational HipHop scenes.  The dissertation explores how HipHop has impacted local understandings of, and participation in, politics in a national context where two presidential elections have been decisively swayed by the HipHop movement. I demonstrate how Senegalese HipHoppers organically deploy an indigenous notion of democracy that is articulated in key ways with an anticolonial critique of liberal democracy, thereby challenging orthodox democratic theory’s framing of possibilities.

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