Joycelyn Wilson is an Assistant Professor of Black Media Studies and Educational Anthropologist in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication in the Ivan Allen College at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was also its 2016-2017 Fellow in the Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center (DILAC). Prior to Georgia Tech, she held a faculty position in the Faculty of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Virginia Tech, affiliate faculty status in its Africana Studies Program and Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT). She is also an alumni fellow of the Harvard Hiphop Archive, and the Founding Co-Chair of the Hip Hop Theories, Pedagogies, and Praxis Special Interest Group for the American Educational Research Association (AERA).
Dr. Wilson received her BS in Mathematics, PhD in Anthropology of Education, and Qualitative Research certification from the University of Georgia. Her MA in Education is from Pepperdine University. Her areas of specialization include intersections of African American music and performance, African American education and schooling in the South, oral history and ethnography, learning sciences and technology, interactive narratives, digital scholarship, popular culture, Hip Hop theories, praxis, and pedagogies, Southern Hip Hop studies, Black women’s sisterhood traditions, and justice-oriented humanities instruction in STEAM.
As a pioneer in the field of Hip Hop pedagogy and higher education in the American South, Dr. Wilson conducts her research from the perspective of an African American woman raised in Atlanta after the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and during the formative years of Hip Hop culture. Her “a-ha moment” happened as a high school math teacher who decided to use her southern Hip Hop sensibilities to teach Algebra and her love for the rap duo OUTKAST to manage racially and economically-diverse learning environments. She’s been writing and producing content that integrates the music and ideologies of OUTKAST since 1997, which include her published dissertation Outkast’d and Claimin True: The Language of Schooling in Southern Hip Hop. As an emerging learning design scholar in culture, media, and technology studies, her courses are some of the most popular taught at colleges and universities. “Engaging the Lyrics of Outkast and Trap Music to Explore Politics of Social Justice”, was featured throughout local, national, and international media outlets including NPR. She has also given a TEDx Talk called “The Outkast Imagination” and is the author of the empowerment series 30 Days of Outkast.
Her current research is therefore uniquely oriented to culturally-resilient design strategies that leverage African American expressive traditions and digital mediations as a tool for enhancing the social justice/civic engagement capacities and critical media literacies of secondary and post-secondary influencers. This research is disseminated across both public and academic media such as book chapters, journal articles, documentary film, and online. She is currently completing the first of two manuscripts on Hip Hop culture, media, and pedagogical innovation. She has spoken on numerous panels and has contributed commentary to The Root, NewsOne, HuffPost Live, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and CNN. Her pop culture commentary has been featured in publications such as ArtsATL, FADER and XXL. Currently, she contributes to The Bitter Southerner, and has had her BS commentary referenced by the New York Times.
She has also developed lines of research in interactive narrative as the founder of the Four Four Beat Labs, a digital pedagogies incubator focused on expanding traditional perspectives of “the classroom” space. That is, how it looks, where it happens, the archival resources used, and what happens in it when technological innovation meets pedagogical sensibility. The projects, such as the HipHop2020 Curriculum Project, are guided by design principles that utilize the storied meanings of cultural artifacts to buildout learning spaces, publish content in an open-access way, and implement installations across analog, digital, and augmented platforms.
As part of the movement to usher Hip Hop culture into campus culture, Dr. Wilson is responsible for bringing into the higher ed classroom artist influencers such as Big Boi from Outkast, Killer Mike, David Banner, TI, Lupe Fiasco, and DJ Drama. She was featured in My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip Hop, directed by award-winning director Ava DuVernay as well as VH1’s ATL: The Untold Story of Atlanta’s Rise in the Rap Game. Dr. Wilson is an Emmy-nominated film producer, and along with civil rights leader Andrew Young, she co-produced the Emmy-winning documentary film Walking With Guns, featuring rapper/actor Clifford “TI” Harris, Jr. and Grammy-winning rapper/activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render.