“Writers write, teachers teach, activists act…but a good scholar does all of the above.”
Dr. James Peterson
Dr. James Peterson is the Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University and a MSNBC Contributor. A graduate of Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania, he is also the founder of Hip Hop Scholars, Inc., an association of hip hop generational scholars dedicated to researching and developing the cultural and educational potential of hip hop, urban, and youth cultures.
Whether composing interdisciplinary curricula or discussing the latest topic du jour as an increasingly important media presence, Dr. James Peterson reveals an acute understanding of both our contemporary American culture and the highly charged political climate with a progressive mindset.
An adamant proponent of educational reform, Dr. James Peterson is a strong advocate of integrating youth culture into classrooms as a way of transgressing the historically divergent borders between lived experiences and the formal educational system. He has trained teachers for the greater part of a decade, working with them to incorporate innovative methods for teaching students from all backgrounds, particularly from minority groups. Drawing from the four elements of hip hop culture -- djing, mc-ing/rapping, breakdancing/bboying, and graffiti art – Dr. James Peterson conceived “The Fifth Element of Hip Hop” in which he argues that knowledge is an additional element.
Regularly appearing on MSNBC as a contributor, Dr. James Peterson aptly utilizes his breadth of knowledge to tackle everything from politics to race relations, cultural debates about the greater social implication of entertainers like Beyonce, and the integration of non-traditional approaches to academics. Beyond offering his opinions through media appearances, academics, and blogging, Dr. James Peterson uses his variegated insights for crossing into the limelight of celebrity entertainment, interviewing the likes of Gil Scott Heron, Dr. Manning Marable, Sistah Souljah, Snoop Dogg, Dead Prez, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Nas, and Lupe Fiasco.
Often working in collaboration with others, Dr. James Peterson has ushered in fresh perspectives on continually evolving debates and applies his journalistic and ethnographic skill sets toward groundbreaking academic inquiry as both a voice of reason and a scholar. Much as his academic focus is derived from an interdisciplinary mindset, Dr. James Peterson projects the same flexible, hands-on approach in all his endeavors, inspiring positive change in the world around him.
Dr. James Peterson is currently working on his first academic book, focusing on mortality and commercial culture in the hip hop world.