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Katherine Thompson

African Studies with a Secondary Field in Government

Class of 2010

As an African Studies concentrator with a secondary field in Government, I used the perspective of linguistic anthropology to study hiphop music in urban northern Nigeria. I focused on the micropolitics of language and identity among urban youth and the ways that hiphop artists mobilize linguistic resources to build identities, critique society, and advocate for social change. (A short film of this work, created with the support of Harvard's Hiphop Archive, can be viewed here: The department’s African Language Program allowed me to study Hausa, one of Nigeria’s major languages, which in turn enhanced my research.

Since graduating in 2010, I have continued to pursue my passion for supporting young people, first as a Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools at the Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, and now as a graduate student in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Iowa State University. I also maintain a blog ( exploring the anthropology of global popular culture forms – please feel free to check it out!