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#Occupy Art: Immigration, Nation and the Art of Occupation is a sprawling ten-week course at Stanford University, featuring performances and lectures open to the public. Lavin speaker Jeff Chang—the executive director of Stanford’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts, one of the event’s co-sponsors—will deliver the opening talk, along with H. Sami Alim, on April 4. It’s called “Introduction to the Art of Occupation.” More details here.
Lavin speaker and award-winning hip-hop historian Jeff Chang talked to The Nation recently about race and Jeremy Lin. Chang is currently finishing his second book, Who We Be: The Colorization of America. From The Nation:
“It hasn’t just been a big couple of weeks for Jeremy; it has been for all of us who have been talking about how Asian-Americans are racialized. In two weeks, the discourse on Asian-Americans in general and Asian-American men in particular has moved up from the college campus level to the highest levels of the media. Issues that we’ve been talking about for years are now on the minds of the entire world. That has blown me away.”
“Part of me is over all the chatter about what Jeremy means, but the other part of me realizes that we’ve just turned a page in the way Asian-Americans are represented in the United States.”
Here’s NBC’s Brian Williams talking about Candy Chang’s ‘Before I Die‘—”an interactive public art project that transforms neglected spaces into a constructive place where we can discover the hopes and dreams of the people around us.”
It seems as if Nathan Williams, of the band Wavves, loves Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop almost as much as we do. Chang’s seminal book, subtitled “a history of the hip-hop generation,” landed on Williams’ top book picks list in a recent interview with The Fader, even if the circumstances that led to him reading it were less than legal:
I met Jeff Chang at Powells Books in Portland, Oregon. He was there for a signing, and I got him to autograph a copy of this book for me. Then I stole it. I was 19 and had no money. That’s the whole story.
Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, talks about the impact hip-hop culture has had on politics, especially among youth. Hip-hop sprang from the marginalized youth of the Bronx in the late 1970’s, of whom nothing was given and even less was expected. They essentially had to create their own world. As the ideals and messages of hip-hop gained momentum and bubbled up into the mainstream, they inspired grassroots political movements and empowered youth—especially those who had come up through hip-hop culture—to make their voices heard. “In hip-hop, culture changes, and eventually there’s a desire to gain power out of that.” Today, Chang reminds us, we’re seeing just how powerful that change can be.