Global Hip Hop Studies Call for Papers, Special Issue: Breaking and the Olympics


Due May 31, 2021

To be considered for this Special Issue, please submit the following via this Google Form by 31 May 2021: 

  • an abstract of 150–250 words (plus references, if necessary); 
  • author name(s); 
  • institutional affiliation(s); 
  • contact details; and 
  • a brief bio of no more than 150 words (which includes the author’s positionalities in relation to their topic). 

Global Hip Hop Studies (GHHS) is a peer-reviewed, rigorous and community-responsive academic journal that publishes research on contemporary as well as historical issues and debates surrounding hip hop music and culture around the world. 

The recent announcement of breaking in the 2024 Paris Olympics has stirred a substantial response from within and outside of hip hop culture. This special issue of GHHS is positioned to not only explore contemporary debates about breaking in the Olympics, but also to develop critical discourse that can offer insight to practitioners, cultural organizations and the IOC. We are especially interested in research projects that engage in local, regional and national perspectives and can provide useful resources transnationally for those involved in this milestone cultural moment. To this end, the issue will be published a year in advance of the 2024 Olympics in 2023. 

Breaking’s introduction into the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic games roused similar debate within breaking communities across the globe, prompting concerns regarding the dance’s misrepresentation and possible exploitation. New tensions between breaking veterans, activists, the general public and corporate interests have emerged already in the lead up to 2024. Despite this, many veterans and community leaders who are responsible for breaking’s introduction into the Olympics also believe the dance has much to gain from its formal elevation and subsequent mainstream rediscovery. This Special Issue will critically assess the potential benefits and dangers for breaking communities worldwide and shed light on the various competing interests vying to authenticate and/or leverage breaking’s new global attention. This is also a good moment to reflect back on the relationship between breaking and the Olympics, starting with the 1984 breaking performances at the closing ceremony in Los Angeles, and the rise of international competitions with events such as Redbull BC One, Battle of The Year, R16, World Bboy Series, Notorious IBE, Silverback Open Championships, Freestyle Session and Outbreak Europe.

We encourage all researchers to think critically about how to include voices from hip hop communities – making practice-led research desirable – and, where possible or necessary, to embark on projects with interdisciplinary teams. This Special Issue also has an extended research term (2021–22) to provide sufficient time for those who would like to pursue funding for their projects. 

Disciplinary focus may include, but not be limited to hip hop studies, dance studies, sport sciences, communication studies, media studies, cultural studies, music studies, anthropology, history, sociology and psychology. 

Submissions may consider, but are not limited to, any of the following topics: 

  • Olympics and cultural policy and economies; 
  • racial politics, representation and identity; 
  • gender and sexuality equity; 
  • health and fitness: optimization, injury prevention and training; 
  • music economy: commissioned works versus licensing, role of the DJ; 
  • civic identity, engagement and nation-building; 
  • critical perspectives on the Olympics, its political history and city-making;
  • issues about performance enhancing drugs/illicit drugs; 
  • evaluation and judging (e.g. the Trivium judging criteria); 
  • shifts within the aesthetic of breaking and hip hop culture; 
  • the politics of breaking as a sport and as art; 
  • public/mainstream vs. community framing and reception; 
  • corporate interests and commercialization; 
  • sustainability: sociocultural and economic displacement, managing Olympic participation during pandemics; and 
  • infrastructure: venues, housing. 

Article Types: 

  • Articles (6,000–8,000 words maximum not including bibliography); 
  • Artist, Judge and DJ statements, and interviews (3,000–5,000 words); 
  • Book Reviews (1,000–2,000 words); 
  • Media Reviews (1,000–2,000 words); 
  • ‘Dive-in-the-Archive’ (archival pieces) (1,000–4,000 words); and 
  • ‘Show and Prove’ (high-res image for cover and 400–2,000 word text). 

For more information, please visit GHHS’s webpage.