Dr Sudiipta Shamalii Dowsett
Research Associate

Dr Sudiipta Shamalii Dowsett

PhD Anthropology (2017)

Arts, Design & Architecture (ADA)
Nat Inst Experimental Arts

My research focuses on how locality, history, culture, politics and lived experience shape the aesthetics of embodied collective performance practices. More specifically I am interested in how hip-hop functions as a decolonial practice in South Africa and Australia.  My work explores how artists utilise hip-hop to make sense of complex neo-colonial contexts, and to revitalise language and culture, embodying and embedding ancestral art forms within the contemporary global performance culture of hip-hop, remixing, asserting and claiming their place in the world.

I am currently working as a Research Associate on the ARC Linkage project Indigenous Futurity: Milpirri as Experimental Ceremony – a collaborative project between National Institute for Experimental Art, Tracks Dance Company and Lajamanu Warlpiri community. Milpirri Festival features adults Jukurrpa (Dreaming) performances alongside youth hip-hop interpretations of Warlpiri cultural themes.

My PhD entitled Revolutionary but gangsta: hip-hop in Khayelitsha, South Africa (2017) developed a unique perspective of hip hop in Africa through a phenomenological ethnographic approach. An analysis of hip hop as a deeply embodied experience and expression, at once collective and individual, remains sorely neglected in the field. This thesis explores the affective and embodied dimensions of emceeing through the lived experiences of amaXhosa hip hop artists in Cape Town, South Africa. A key underlying argument of the thesis is that there are deeper political and decolonial aspects of hip hop that can only be understood through an analysis of the productive effects of hip hop as embodied performativity, that is, the live dynamics of embodied rhythm, sound and movement, in place.

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