Africa at Noon on October 28, 2015

The African HipHop Movement: Youth Culture and Democracy in Senegal

Damon Sajnani
Assistant Professor, African Languages and Literature
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Time and Location

12:00pm, 206 Ingra­ham Hall, 1155 Obser­va­tory Drive, Madi­son, WI

Download Poster (pdf)


HipHop Studies in the U.S. and beyond have long affirmed the political significance of HipHop culture, but examples of widespread impact on the formal political sphere are rare. However, in Senegal, youth artist-activists are realizing this potential on an unprecedented scale. Sajnani’s deep participant-observation among this community revealed how Senegalese HipHoppers organically deploy an anticolonial notion of democracy that challenges orthodox democratic theory’s framing of possibilities.


Professor Sajnani is a critically acclaimed HipHop artist, Harvard’s inaugural Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellow, and new assistant professor of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has authored several articles about HipHop in the US and Africa, and is developing two book projects: Critical HipHop Theory and an adaptation of his dissertation, tentatively titled “The Senegalese Spring: HipHop and Politics in Senegal.”