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THEO 3500/6952 Theology and Hip-Hop: Get Started

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Steve Perisho
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The "Cultural Exegesis" Paper

3. “Cultural Exegesis” Paper (45% of your total grade)

Your task in this final paper is to identify a specific artifact and/or aspect of hip hop culture that is personally significant and/or interesting to you. As you examine this artifact, culturally and theologically, your goal is to situate the artifact in its context and interpret its meaning for today.

The paper should have three main components:

  1. History and Context: what is the cultural and personal significance of this artifact? How is it reflective of hip hop culture in a particular time and place?
  2. Lived theology: what kind of “theology” does this artifact communicate, promote, and/or embody? 
  3. Cultural Exegesis: How can you “read” (i.e., interpret) this artifact deeply and holistically? What meaning about God, Jesus, humanity, sin, ethics (e.g., money-sex-power), or reconciliation can we derive from this artifact?

Works Cited/Bibliography: you will be expected to integrate the course text and at least two outside sources into your final paper, one of which must be a book or academic journal article sourced from the SPU library.

This final paper should be 4-5 pages (double-spaced) in length (not including your bibliography) and should follow the basic format/thematic categories listed above. Format your citations according to the “notes and bibliography” style of the Chicago Manual of Style Online.

Evaluation: your paper will be evaluated according to the three categories listed above: history and context (1/3), lived theology (1/3), and cultural exgesis (1/3). As you write, consider the implications of each: is your context sufficiently “textured” (as opposed to “flat” or one-dimensional)? Is the lived theology authentic and true to the artifact’s message (and messenger)? Is your interpretation of this artifact a natural and deep reading in consideration of the Christian story?