About Dawn-Elissa Fischer





Associate Professor


Africana StudiesCollege of Ethnic Studies


Ethnic Studies and Psychology Building (EP)


Office Hours: 

Thursday: 12:00 pm-12:00 pm

Office Hours (Additional Info): 

by appointment


At SF State Since:

Spring 2008


Dawn-Elissa Fischer, also known as the “DEF Professor,” is an Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at San Francisco State University, where she teaches courses on black popular culture, information technology and visual ethnography.


At SF State, Dr. Fischer co-directs the BAHHRS (Bay Area Hip Hop Research and Scholarship) project with Dave “Davey D” Cook, which was awarded the Cesar Chavez Institute’s Community-University Empowerment grant. Prior to joining the faculty at SF State, Fischer was a well-known youth activist that traveled within and outside of the United States utilizing Hiphop as part of a social movement strategy. Fischer co-founded the National Hip Hop Political Convention (NHHPC) with Bakari Kitwana and many others in 2002, and the NHHPC held national conventions in 2004, 2006 and 2008.


Additionally, Fischer was a founding staff member of Dr. Marcyliena Morgan’s Hiphop Archive and Research Institute at Harvard University in 2001 and she continues to consult in an advisory role as an Associate Director to this day. The Hiphop Archive houses Fischer’s Japanese Hiphop collection, including Nihon Style, a film about an annual Hiphop festival in Japan that she co-produced with filmmaker Bianca White. Dr. Fischer has published articles about her research concerning race and gender politics in both global and local Hiphop ( see  http://faculty.sfsu.edu/~def/content/publications-0). Having received the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation Career Enhancement Fellowship, she is completing two manuscripts entitled Blackness, Race and Sexuality Politics in Japanese Hiphop as well as Methods to Floss, Theories to Flow: Hiphop Research, Aesthetics and Activism. The latter is a textbook for her introduction to Hiphop course (AFRS 256) at SF State. 


The academic perspective from which Fischer writes is unique in that she has had the opportunity to experience all sides of Hiphop. She has extended family members that have been professional and renowned artists, and her youth activism was inspired by Hiphop art. Fischer was part of a pioneering group of scholars to write dissertations on subjects that included Hiphop as part of their analytic interest.  For Fischer, Hiphop is professional as well as personal and political.