Edwin Hill

Associate Professor of French and Italian and American Studies and Ethnicity

Contact Information
E-mail: edwinhil@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-5744
Office: THH 155E


Biographical Sketch

Edwin Hill's research seeks to highlight the marginalized intellectual and cultural dialogs of the black Atlantic diaspora that have taken place, and continue to take place, in France. Professor Hill has published and/or presented on contemporary Caribbean writers, Sub-Saharan francophone literature, African-American popular music, French chanson, and francophone hip hop. Similarly, his teaching interests, while focused on black vernacular culture and France, extend from the poetry of Negritude writers to postcolonial explorations of contemporary francophone writers and musicians. His current book project “Black Soundscapes White Stages: The Meaning of Sound in the Francophone Black Atlantic” considers the torn aesthetic and ideological relationships between Antillean music and literature from the 1920s to 1960s to be a colonial struggle over the meaning of Caribbean vernacular culture. Informed by an interdisciplinary formation (Bachelor Degree in Music Performance, PhD in French and Francophone Studies), "Black Soundscapes White Stages" relocates the marginalized voices of the black diaspora through the discursive matrix of French imperialism and the cultural history of the French West Indies. In the past two years as assistant professor at USC, Edwin Hill created "Project Banlieue: French Peri/Urban Cultures and Crises" promoting interdisciplinary scholarship about the riots in France in 2005 and 2007. During the 2008-2009 year, Project Banlieue consisted of two major events: 1) a year-long lecture series featuring five internationally recognized senior scholars in the social sciences; 2) a colloquium featuring six junior humanities scholars from around the country. This year, thanks to a grant from Visions and Voices: The USC university-wide Arts and Humanities Initiative, "Project Banlieue" is coordinating "Kourtrajmé: A New New Wave in French Peri/Urban Cinema," an event bringing in three cutting-edge urban French and French-African visual artists to screen and discuss their short films, documentaries, and music videos for USC and the local community.


  • B.A. Music Performance (Percussion), University of Iowa
  • M.A. French Literature, University of Iowa
  • Ph.D. French and Francophone Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, 2007

  • Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    Research interests include: Francophone poetry and music. Representations of post/colonial desire and romance. Exchanges in Caribbean and black Atlantic identity formations and cultural discourses. Cultural studies, performance studies and musical discourses on gender and race. Technology and post/colonial discourse.

    Conferences and Other Presentations

    Conference Presentations
    • ""Sounding Affect"", Thinking in Sonic Terms, Talk/Oral Presentation, Abstract, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Mellon Sawyer Seminar "Race Across Time and Space", Invited, Spring 2014   
    • ""Black Women, Affect, and the Cité"", The Transatlantic, Africa and its Diaspora, Talk/Oral Presentation, Abstract, Oxford University, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, Invited, Fall 2013   
    • ""Bêtes noires: Black Women Beast on the MIC"", New Directions in Caribbean Sound, Talk/Oral Presentation, Abstract, Rutgers University, The Critical Caribbean Studies Initiative at Rutge, Invited, Spring 2013   
    • ""DJ Cut Killer in the Cité"", Music Moves; Exploring Musical Meaning through Difference, Framing and Transformation, Talk/Oral Presentation, Paper, Georg August University Göttingen, Musicology Department in cooperation with the Cent, Invited, Spring 2013   
    • ""Falling Down: Representing Rage in Popular Culture"", Lecture/Seminar, Abstract, Emory University, Department of French and Italian, Invited, Spring 2013   
    • ""Falling Down: Representing Rage in Popular Culture"", Lecture/Seminar, Abstract, Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Foreign Languages and Literatures Section, Invited, Spring 2013   
    • ""Falling Down: Representing Rage in Popular Culture"", Lecture/Seminar, Abstract, University of Wisconsin Madison, Department of French, Invited, Spring 2013   
    • ""Sharpen me THIS" (Critical Karaoke)", Locals Only: Pop & Politics in this Town -- Annual EMP Pop Music Conference, Talk/Oral Presentation, REDCAT Theatre, Experience Music Project, Invited, Spring 2013   
    • "Rap Scars and Painful Pens: Violence and the Body in Contemporary Women Rappers and Writers from the Antilles", Caribbean Crossroads, Talk/Oral Presentation, UCSB, Invited, Spring 2012   
    • "Auto/Sonographies of Joséphine: Black Sound and French Colonial Cinema", American Comparative Literature Association, Talk/Oral Presentation, New Orleans, LA, Spring 2010   
    • "Notes Towards Black French Studies à l’américaine ", Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies: Past, Present, Future, Talk/Oral Presentation, London, UK, Fall 2009   
    • "La Rumeur? Fanon’s New Men: French Hip Hop and the 2005 Riots ", 20th and 21st-Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium , Talk/Oral Presentation, Minneapolis, MN , University of Minnesota, Spring 2009   
    • "Monnaie Mythique: A Woman’s Worth", Caribbean Studies Association, Talk/Oral Presentation, Kingston, Jamaica, Spring 2009   
    • ""To Begin the Biguine"", American Comparative Literature Association, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Long Beach, CA, Spring 2008   
    • "Imperial Soundscapes and the Ear of the Other", Virtual Caribbeans: Representation, Diaspora, and Performance in and on the Caribbean, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed New Orleans, LA, Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute, Tulane Univ, Spring 2008   
    • "Les/sons Racailles: Reframing Rap and Riots in France", "Shake, Rattle: Music, Conflict and Change", Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Seattle, Washington, Experience Music Project Music, Spring 2008   

    Other Presentations
    • "French and Francophone Popular Culture", Master's Dinner Lecture Series, Parkside International Reseidential College, Los Angeles, CA, Spring 2008   
    • "Sweetest Taboo - Pop Culture and the Academy", Lecture Series: Beyond UCLA's Borders, Dept Comparative Literature, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, Spring 2008   


    • Hill, E. C. (2013). Black Soundscapes, White Stages: The Meaning of Sound in the Black Francophone Atlantic. Callaloo African Diaspora Studies Series. Johns Hopkins University Press.
    • Hill, E. C. La Rage: Losing It in the French Peripheries (in progress).

    Book Chapter
    • Hill, E. C. (2010). Monnaies Mythiques: Métissage and A Woman's Worth in Suzanne Dracius's Sa Destinée Rue Monte au Ciel. Paris: Harmattan.

    • Hill, E. C. (2012). Afterwards: Climbing Down from the Sky. pp. 25 pages. Virginia. Virginia University Press.

    Journal Article
    • Hill, E. C. (2013). "Making Claims on Echoes: Dranem, Cole Porter, and the biguine between the Antilles, France and the US". Popular Music.
    • Hill, E. C. Ratés rythmiques: Léon-Gontran Damas's Black Label and the Negritude Beat. Negritud: Revista de Estudios Afro-Latinoamericanos. 28 December 2012
    • Hill, E. C. (2007). "‘Adieu madras, adieu foulard’: Antillean Musical Origins and the Doudou’s Colonial Plaint. Ethnomusicology Forum / Routledge. Vol. 16 (1), pp. 19-43.
    • Hill, E. C. (2004). 'Aux armes et caetera: Re-covering Nation for Cultural Critique. Copyright Volume! Musiques actuelles et problématiques plastiques / Éditions Mélanie Séteun. Vol. 2 (2)
    • Hill, E. C. (2002). Imagining Métissage: The Politics and Practice of Métissage in the French Colonial Exposition and Ousmane Socé’s Mirages de Paris. Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture / Routeledge. Vol. 8 (4)

    • Hill, E. C. (2006). "Letter following" by Daniel Maximin ("Lettre suit"). Exchanges: A Journal of Literary Translations.

    Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

    • Screenplay, "The Law." A screenplay co-authored with Christian Lara, winner of the 2013 Pioneering Filmmaker Award from the Pan-African Film Festival at Los Angeles. , 2012-2013   

    Service to the Profession

    Conferences Organized
    • Project Banlieue: French Peri/Urban Cultures and Crises, Project Banlieue encourages research on marginalized French urban cultural production and life. It includes a year long lecture social science series and a one day humanities colloquium March 6., 2008-2009