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Assistant Professor of Hip-Hop, University of Virginia

A.D. Carson is an award-winning performance artist and educator from Decatur, Illinois. His work focuses on race, literature, history, rhetorics & performance. He received a Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design at Clemson University. His peer-reviewed album, “i used to love to dream,” was released with University of Michigan Press in 2020. This work builds on concepts from his doctoral dissertation, “Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes & Revolutions,” a rap album that is the primary feature of a digital archive at “Owning My Masters” was internationally heralded and was also recognized by Clemson’s Graduate Student Government as the 2017 Outstanding Dissertation.

“i used to love to dream” was a winner of the 2021 Research Award for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities from the University of Virginia. It was also a Category Winner (Best eProduct) of a Prose Award from the Association of American Publishers in 2021. Dr. Carson’s work with students, staff, faculty and community members was recognized with a 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Excellence in Service at Clemson University for the “See the Stripes” campaign, which takes its name from the poem featured on his dissertation album, and raised awareness of historic, entrenched racism at the university. He is also the author of a novel, “COLD,” which hybridizes poetry, rap lyrics, and prose.

Dr. Carson’s work has been featured by Complex, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes, The Guardian, Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, NPR’s All Things Considered, OkayPlayer, Quiddity International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program, Time, USA Today, and XXL among others. His most recent album, “iv: talking to ghosts,” and other projects are available to stream/download free from

Dr. Carson is currently assistant professor of Hip-Hop & the Global South in the Departement of Music at the University of Virginia.


  • 2017–present
    Assistant Professor of Hip-Hop, University of Virginia