Center for Global Studies (CGS)


MA James Barber

Historisches Institut, Abteilung für Iberische und Lateinamerikanische Geschichte

With an undergraduate background in Sociology at the University of Bristol, and five years of teaching experience in a UK secondary school and sixth form college, James completed his MA in Global Studies at the Humboldt University, Berlin. The international component of his MA Studies was completed with semesters at FLACSO, Buenos Aires and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. 

Since October 2018 James is a PhD candidate on the SNF research project Hip-Hop as a Transcultural Phenomenon. His thesis proposes a re-reading of dominant narratives of hip-hop history and suggests that a greater degree of ‘circularity’ between reggae and hip-hop, and Jamaican and black American culture more generally, should be acknowledged, focusing in particular on the contributions of the Jamaican diaspora to hip-hop’s birth and evolution in New York. Focusing on a case study of an emerging fusion of reggae and hip-hop at the end of the 1980s, the subgenre of ragamuffin hip-hop, he envisages an underlying aesthetic of urban ‘cut and mix’ embodied by hip
hop, unique to both the genre and the New York of this era, and how overlapping techniques pioneered in reggae’s evolution in Jamaica – themselves informed by consistent historical interactions between Jamaican and black American music – naturally lent themselves to this hybridity.


“United Ghettoes of America”: The Aesthetics of Multicultural Exchange and Bricolage in New York City and the Case of the Jamaican Influence on Hip-Hop (1987-1995)


Prof. Dr. Christian Büschges (Universität Bern)

Prof. Dr. Britta Sweers (Universität Bern)