About Dawn-Elissa Fischer



(415) 338-7532




AnthropologyCollege of Liberal and Creative Arts


Fine Arts Building (FA)


Office Hours: 

Wednesday: 3:05 pm-3:35 pm

Office Hours (Additional Info): 

Fine Arts Building, Room 541; Office phone: 415-338-7532; Virtual Office/ Zoom Info - Meeting ID: 848885141 Password: Access1 research group drop in hours Wednesdays, 3pm to 4pm


At SF State Since:

January 2008


Dawn-Elissa Fischer, also known as the “DEF Professor,” is a Professor at San Francisco State University, where she teaches courses on black popular culture, information technology and virtual ethnography.image of podcast for Fischer on hiphop global education, feminism with DJ Kuttin Kandi for Hiphop Bruhaimage of Chabot Ethnic Studies Summit Keynote April 2020 on music manga movementsflyer of Black and Asian Unity panel hosted by TrueSkool


Awards of note include the NSF Equitable Collaboration in STEM Fellowship (2021-22), the Educator of the Year (2017) from the National Council of Negro Women, Golden Gate Chapter, the Nasir Jones Fellowship (2016), and the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation Career Enhancement Fellowship (2011-12). Having published on the topics of race in cyberspace, popular culture and globalization, her manuscript reviews Blackness, race, gender and transnationalism in Japanese Hiphop and anime. 

A founding staff member of Dr. Marcyliena Morgan’s Hiphop Archive and Research Institute at Harvard University in 2001, Fischer continues to consult in an advisory role. 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).

At SF State, Dr. Fischer co-directed 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 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 political conventions in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

image for PR of Japanese Feminist Cinema Symposium featuring Fischer among others


The academic perspective from which Fischer writes is unique in that she has had the opportunity to experience Hiphop's heterogeneity as window to understanding racism and globalization. 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.