Nzinga Receives Newcombe Fellowship

Nzinga Receives Newcombe Fellowship

Kalonji NzingaKalonji Nzinga, a doctoral candidate in learning sciences at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, has received a 2017 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship to support his work exploring the educational power of hip-hop.

The fellowship is the nation’s largest and most prestigious award for PhD candidates in the humanities and social sciences who are addressing questions about ethical and religious values. Only a handful of education and learning sciences students have been named fellows in the 35-year history of the program, said Patrick Riccards of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which administered the award.

“My research is about hip-hop music, a set of folk narratives, rhythms, and literature that sprouted from the hood,” Nzinga said. “In particular, I want to know how some of these musical lyrics help orient people towards the good life."

Nzinga, who sees his role as preserving street culture, said he was drawn to studying the hood because he wasn’t convinced those communities were as ‘bad’ as some people perceive them to be.

“I want to know how our hood mentalities define good and how our hood mouths speak of good and bad, on our terms, in our language,” Nzinga wrote. “I am interested in our ethical imagination for art’s sake.”

Nzinga’s dissertation is The Social Conscience of Rap: Moral Socialization Within Hip-Hop Culture. Read more about the areas that shaped Nzinga's research and follow him on Twitter @quasiWOKE.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 11/13/17