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Anthony Kwame Harrison

Anthony Kwame Harrison, Edward S. Diggs Professor in Humanities

Anthony Harrison, Professor
Anthony Kwame Harrison, Edward S. Diggs Professor in Humanities

Department of Sociology
678 McBryde Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-4519 |

Anthony Kwame Harrison is a professor in the Department of Sociology with a half-time appointment in the Africana Studies Program at Virginia Tech. He also holds the title of Edward S. Diggs Professor in Humanities.

His research and teaching generally explore issues surrounding race, popular music, qualitative research methodologies, and social space. An interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Harrison has presented his work at conferences focusing on anthropology, sociology, Black studies, popular music studies, philosophy, marketing, qualitative inquiry, life writing, and higher education pedagogy. He is President of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) – US Branch and Vice President of the US Board of Directors of the Race and the Marketplace (RIM) Network.

Harrison has authored several books, in addition to numerous academic articles and chapters in edited volumes. His first book, Hip Hop Underground: The Integrity and Ethics of Racial Identification is an ethnographic study of a multiracial community of hip-hop practitioners in the San Francisco Bay Area. His second book, Ethnography, is a historically informed, future-facing overview of cultural anthropologies principal research methodology. He also co-edited Race in the Marketplace: Crossing Critical Boundaries and curated a special issue of the French arts-based journal Dysfunction, dedicated to the life and career of James “Billboard” Jackson.

Harrison completed a bachelor’s degree in anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a master’s degree and a doctorate in cultural anthropology at Syracuse University. He is the winner of multiple teaching awards and a former chair of Virginia Tech’s Academy of Teaching Excellence.

  • Race
  • Popular Music Studies
  • Qualitative Research Methodologies
  • Racialized Social Spaces
  • Hip Hop Historiography
  • Higher Education Pedagogy
  • Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology, Syracuse University, 2004
  • M.A. in Cultural Anthropology, Syracuse University, 1999
  • B.A. in Anthropology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1992
  • President, International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) – US Branch
  • Vice President, Board of Directors (US), Race in the Marketplace Network
  • Finance Committee, American Anthropological Association
  • Executive Program Committee, American Anthropological Association 2024 Annual Meeting
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Popular Music Studies
  • Editorial Board, IASPM Journal
  • Editorial Board, DIY, Alternative Cultures and Society
  • Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2022. 
  • American Marketing Association’s AMA-EBSCO-RRBM Award for Responsible Research in Marketing for Race in the Marketplace: Crossing Critical Boundaries.
  • E. Gordon Erickson (Outstanding Graduate Faculty) Award, Department of Sociology, Virginia Tech, 2012, 2016
  • Alumni Teaching Award, Academy of Teaching Excellence, Virginia Tech, 2015
  • Carroll B. Shannon Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2014
  • Certificate of Teaching Excellence, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2014
  • Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, Department of Sociology, Virginia Tech, 2011
  • Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholar Award, Virginia Tech, 201

Books Authored

Ethnography: Understanding Qualitative Research (Oxford University Press, 2018)

Hip Hop Underground: The Integrity and Ethics of Racial Identification (Temple University Press, 2009)

Book Edited

Race in the Marketplace: Crossing Critical Boundaries, eds. Guillaume D. Johnson, Kevin D. Thomas, Anthony Kwame Harrison, and Sonya Grier (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2019).

Select Journal Articles

“Sleeping in Kwame’s Room: Crocodile Dreams of Freedom from a Summer Return to Kumasi.” The Arrow 10.2 (2023): 11-31.

“Spending Time Together Outside of the Clubs: Cross-gender Rapport Building and Interview Recruitment in Music Scene Ethnography.” Sociological Inquiry 92.4 (2023): 1329-1351.

“Black College-Radio on Predominantly White Campuses: A ‘Hip-Hop Era’ Student-Authored Inclusion Initiative.” Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies 9 (2016): 135-154. 

“Reconciling Geppetto: Collaboration, (Re-)Creation and Deception in the Practice of Hip Hop Music Ethnography.” Collaborative Anthropologies 6 (2013): 38-72. 

“Black Skiing, Everyday Racism, and the Racial Spatiality of Whiteness.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 37 (2013): 315-339.

Selected Book Chapters

“Ethnographic Comportment: A Performance-Based Framework for Research Design.” Pp. 111-124 in Routledge Companion to the Anthropology of Performance, edited by David Syring and Lauren Miller (Routledge, 2024).

“Sound and the Moving Tourist Bubble in Harlem Tourism” (with William Trevor Jamerson). Pp. 224-237 in Ambiance, Tourism and the City, edited by Iñigo Sánchez, Daniel Paiva & Daniel Malet Calvo (Routledge, 2023).

“‘Here, Listen to My CD-R’: Music Transactions and Infrastructures in Underground Hip-Hop Touring.” Pp. 65-76 in The Routledge Companion to Media Anthropology, edited by Elisabetta Costa, Patricia G. Lange, Nell Haynes, and Jolynna Sinanan (Routledge, 2022).

“Hip-Hop's Place in Campus Inclusion and Social Justice Advocacy.” Pp. 194-205 in For the Culture: Hip Hop and the Fight for Social Justice. Edited by Lakeyta M. Bonnette-Bailey and Adolphus G. Belk (University of Michigan Press, 2022). 

“Ethnography.” Pp. 329-358 in The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research, 2nd edition. Edited by Patricia Leavy (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Selected Other Creative Works

“Exhibiting the Complexities of Black Advertising History: Review of ‘Let’s March Forward Together.’” Advertising & Society Quarterly 24.3 (2003):

“Mad Squirrel Keeping it Rural: Reflecting on Twenty Years of Hip-hop Environmental Awareness and Advocacy” (with Ahad Pace). Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture and the Environment 13 (2022): 177-188.

“Using Black Lives as if They Don’t Matter: The Famous Four and Other Serious Stories of Capitalism and White Supremacy.” California Western Law Review 57 (2021): 291-301.

“White Reign” (an issue dedicated to the career achievements of James A. “Billboard” Jackson (1878-1960). Dysfunction #6 (2019): 1-12

“Schwarze Skifahrer? Über den ganz alltäglichen Rassismus im Sport.” Kulturaustausch: Zeischrift für International Perspektiven 1 (2014): 39. [translated by Claudia Kotte]

  • “Designing a Flourishing Future and Researching with Black Communities in Canada.” Symposium. York University Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies. Toronto, Ontario, Canada, November, 2023.
  • “The Unheard terms of Musical White Supremacy: Reflections on Popular Music and Race.” Keynote Lecture. American Musicological Society—Southeast Chapter. Blacksburg, VA, September, 2023.
  • “Music That Brings Us Together and Music That Keeps Us Apart.” McIntire Department of Music, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, April 2023.
  • “From Hypodescent to Musical Segregation: The Racialized Stakes of Sonic Belonging and Estrangement.” STS Speaker Series, Tufts University, Boston, MA, March 2023.
  • “Musical Inclusion and the Unheard Terms of DEI Work.” Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, March 2023.
  • “In Search of ‘Billboard’ Jackson: Investigating a Pioneer of Integration and the Legacy of his Opposition to Racist Market Forces,” Université Paris-Dauphine, France, June 2019.
  • “The Place of Hip Hop on College Campuses,” University of Dayton, Ohio, November 2017.
  • “Being On Campus: Articulations of Togetherness and Difference,” Diversity Workshop, Quest University, Squamish, British Columbia, February 2017.
  • “Black Lives Matter and the Anthropology of Racism,” Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina, February 2017.

Undergraduate-Level Courses

  • Foundations of Hip Hop
  • Introduction to Social Anthropology
  • Black Aesthetics
  • Introductory Sociology
  • Introduction to Africana Studies
  • Sociology of Popular Music

Graduate-Level Courses

  • Social Issues in Qualitative Methodology
  • History of Social Thought 

Select Ph.D. Committees Chaired

  • Lyla Byers, Mothering out of Bounds: Inequality and Resistance in Fat Motherhood, 2023.
  • William Trevor Jamerson, Tourist Harlem: Sidewalks, Cyberspace, and the In/Visibility of Race, 2019
  • Corey Javon Miles, Niggaz Wit Aesthetic: A Sociological Conceptualization of Diasporic Hip-Hop Identities in the Era of Mass Incarceration, 2019

Select Master’s Degree Committees Chaired

  • Tamar Ballard, Country Quares: (Dis)identification Discourse in Black Country Music, 2023
  • Joy Thompson, The Return: Understanding why Black Women Choose to “Go Natural,” 2018
  • Steger Center for International Scholarship Interest Group, 2023
  • VT Presidential Global Scholars, Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, 2021
  • Visiting Professor, MOST (Markets, Organizations, Society and Technologies) Research Team, Université Paris-Dauphine, France, 2019
  • Study Abroad, Ghana, 2017

Select Media Mentions