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Grant number like: FT-286125-22

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Serouj Aprahamian
Unaffiliated independent scholar

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2022 – 7/31/2022

The Birth of Breaking: Hip-Hop History from the Floor Up

Research and writing leading to a book about the history of African American break dancing in New York City in the 1970s.

This study offers the first-ever detailed account of the African American beginnings of breaking in the Bronx, New York, during the 1970s. Given the pivotal impact this dance had on hip-hop’s emergence, it also disrupts numerous myths and misconceptions that have permeated studies of hip-hop history. More than three-hundred files of untapped archival material, primary interviews, and detailed descriptions of dancing and music are utilized to bring this buried history to life, with a particular focus on the early aesthetic development of breaking, the institutional settings in which hip-hop’s expressions arose, and the movement’s impact on sociocultural relations throughout New York City during the 1970s. By documenting the overlooked testimony of founding b-boys and b-girls, this book also demonstrates how indebted the movement is to the broader African American tradition of producing music and movement in tandem, and the need to integrate scholarship on the body into the humanities.