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Why should we archive hip hop? What gets into an archive, and who controls it? Is there a particular narrative of the genre's history that will be privileged over others? These questions were asked by Travis Gosa, assistant professor in Africana Studies at Williams College, who moderated a panel on the academic and journalistic study of hip hop.
Panelists included Johan Kugelberg, collector and author of "Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop"; Gabriel Mckee, archivist of the Born in the Bronx collection; Vernon C. Mitchell, Jr., Ph.D. candidate in the department of history at Cornell University; Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman, assistant professor of English at SUNY Binghamton. The discussion took place on Nov. 1, 2008, in the Alice Statler Auditorium, as part of Cornell University Library's Born in the Bronx hip hop conference.
The two-day conference celebrated Cornell University Library's acquisition of "Born in the Bronx: The Legacy and Evolution of Hip Hop," a collection that documents the early days of hip hop with recordings, photographs, posters and more. Events on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 2008, included music, performances and lectures by several of hip hop's founders, and roundtable discussions led by prominent speakers from the hip hop and academic communities.