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San Diego State University

Experience Movement

Diaspora Sound: The Movement of Transnational Hip Hop

Hip hop is movement. It is a drive, beat, and rhythm. It is expressed in rap, dance, djs, and graffiti. Perhaps more important, the movement of hip hop is felt phenomenologically in ideas and experience, as well as, in and through people across borders and boundaries. Thus, hip hop moves in and through persons of various geo-political creeds and colors. We would like to explore the trans-disciplinary foundations and ethnic influences of hip hop in our respective areas of specialization – namely Italian, Chicana/o, and African American Studies – and their intersections with one another. In particular, we plan to draw from the rich history already available on our campus, in our community, and the southern California region. Furthermore, local artists will be brought to our classes and a similar reading list will be used to supplement the “common experience” in our courses to create an intellectual synergy and an active hip hop scholarly record at SDSU. The aim is to hear the “diaspora sound” of underground hip hop and to elevate conversations and consciousness regarding its transnational movement.


Diaspora Sound Event Flyer

Event Videos and Images


Playlist of Videos


On display during the events: the Italian Hip Hop and Rock en Español collections from the library archives

Co-organized by Dr. Clarissa Clò (Italian and European Studies), Dr. Emily Hicks, (Chicano/a Studies), and Dr. Roy Whitaker (Religious Studies)




Read the Daily Aztec story about the event | View photos from the event


Speaker Bios

Joseph Sciorra Joseph Sciorra is the Director for Academic and Cultural Programs at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College (City University of New York). He researches and publishes on vernacular culture, including religious practices, cultural landscapes, and popular music, among other topics. He is the author of Built with Faith: Italian American Imagination and Catholic Material Culture in New York City (University of Tennessee Press, 2015) and the co-editor of many volumes, including Neapolitan Postcards: The Canzone Napolitana as Transnational Subject(Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), Reframing Italian America: Historical Photographs and Immigrant Representations (John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, 2015), Embroidered Stories: Interpreting Women's Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora (University of Mississippi Press, 2014). From 1998 to 2012, Sciorra managed the website, an English language site dedicated to Italian hip hop. In 2014 he donated part of his Italian hip hop collection to San Diego State University’s Special Collections.




Jon Ivan Gill

Jon Ivan Gill (M.Th. Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University) is a lecturer at CSU-Long Beach. He is a scholar of religious studies, metaphysics, cultural studies, aesthetics, and philosophy. His staunch support of a truly philosophical and theological trans-disciplinary discourse involves the inclusion of everything from aesthetic atheism and religious pluralism to subversive use of the arts. He pens his own lyrics and poetry, raps and performs hip hop under the moniker Gilhead7. For more information, see


Medhin Paolos

Medhin Paolos is a filmmaker, photographer, musician and activist based in Milan, Italy. Her first film Asmarina (2015), which she co-directed with Alan Maglio, depicts the presence of the ​habesha community in the city of Milan through the collective memories of the community recorded in personal archives through photograph, music and stories. For ten years (1999-2009) Paolos was part of the folk-electronic band Fiamma Fumana. She is the co-founder of the Milano chapter of Rete G2  (Second Generation Network), a national organization that promotes the human and civic rights of children of immigrant in Italy. Currently, she is conceptualizing an educational platform for bringing forth a plurality voices, histories, and cultures to the forefront through media artistic interventions. 



Parker Edison Parker Edison considers himself a hustler -- more in line with Too Short than Tony Montana. But even though he raps, directs music videos and lectures at universities, that persona is who he identifies most with. At a time when many artists clog Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines with incessant, ALL CAPS self-promotion, Parker lays in the cut, quietly rebirthing the “cool.” It’s the same type of cool that Miles Davis fathered in 1957. Parkers name and music are already being passed around like San Diego’s best kept secret. But soon, everyone will be in on that secret too.

Event Details:


Topic: Diaspora Sound: The Movement of Transnational Hip Hop Movement


Date: April 6, 2017 


Time: 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  


Student-led panel/showcase from 12-2pm

Student-led “freestyle” session/showcase with Tre Castro (Manuel A. Hurtado-­‐Castro) , “Musica y Cultura” Keidra Taylor, “Zombies and Hip Hop” Chris Hicks, “Double Consciousness. W. E. B. DuBois and Tupac” Shannon Yandall DeJesus, “Psychology in the Wild: 5 Things We Can Learn from Tupac” Justin Abdel, Christian DeCecca, Mahalla Fagan, Kassandra Ferrante, Inyuva Flores, Diana Paoloni, Natalia Salinas, Ana Vega, Sophia Zarzosa, “Hip Hop Italiano: A Digital Project”


Keynote session with four speakers from 2-3:15

Keynote roundtable session with guest speakers Dr. Joseph Sciorra, (Queen’s College, CUNY), Dr. Jon I. Gil, (CSULB), Medhin Paolos (artist from Milan, Italy), and Parker Edison (rapper from San Diego)


Reception to follow


Where:  Love Library 430-431

Faculty Leaders: Clarissa Ph.D., Department of European Studies-Italian Program, D. Emily Hicks Ph.D., Departments of Chicana and Chicano Studies and English and Comparative Literature, and Roy Whitaker, Ph.D., Department of Religious Studies

Diaspora Sound
Hip Hop Italiano Banner
Italian Flag colors and dj table
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