Chicago State University


Dr. Louis "Pancho"  McFarland, Professor of Sociology

Former "b-boy" leaves his mark

Dr. Louis “Pancho” McFarland, Professor of Sociology, is a man who digs deep and cultivates positive realities, at CSU, the city of Chicago and the nation. Dr. McFarland has been a faculty member for thirteen years. CSU, to McFarland, feels like home.

“I feel comfortable here. CSU is a good fit for me. A fit I couldn’t find other places. The level of effect faculty have on students here is unique.”

Dr. McFarland’s interests and reach are also unique.

Arguably one of the nations leading scholars on Chicano Rap, McFarland has published two books exploring the cultural complexities and stylistic innovations of Hip Hop born in the barrio. His book, Chicano Rap: Gender and Violence in the Post-Industrial Barrio, is the first book of its kind, and is critically-acclaimed as the definitive text on Mexican Americans and Rap. His second book, The Chican@ Hip Hop Nation: Politics of a New Millennial Mestizaje, furthers his research on the intersections of language, race and identity in the music.

Chicagoano Rap Hip Hop Anti-Colonialism Mexican-Origin Foods The Chicagan@ Hip Hop Nation

He also published Toward A Chican@ Hip Hop Anti-Colonialism in 2017, where he builds on the indigenous knowledge and transnational feminism, in addition to other topics, in detailing the power of Hip Hop among Chican@ and Xican@ youth. Hip Hop is the largest global youth movement in history and Dr. McFarland has provided a lens on an often neglected aspect of the culture.

As a former “B-boy” or break dancer, Dr. McFarland knows intimately the rich blend of politics, ethnicity and injustice unmasked in Hip Hop. Though the Four Elements of Hip Hop (Break dancing, graffiti, MC/Rapper and DJ) will always live in his core, Dr. McFarland has placed his current focus on two things that sustain us more than music: food and nature.

Mexican-Origin Food, Foodways and Social Movements: Decolonial Perspectives, is a recent anthology of essays Dr. McFarland co-edited in 2017. The book features writing from twenty authors discussing the manner in which access, or lack of easy access, to food functions as an element of decolonization in Mexican-origin communities.

McFarland’s contribution to this anthology is rooted in helping Chicagoans create a local, community controlled food system. “This work is much larger than a community garden. This work is based in educating community folks on how to create a sustainable, just food source that is good to ourselves and the environment. This work is about how to create an economy born of the foods we can grow in vacant lots. We are used to being consumers, not producers.”

Dr. McFarland teaches perma-culture design techniques to community members in addition to CSU students who work with him in Roseland. His work has garnered national attention, including a segment on a national PBS Online program, “What’s Good.” The link to the program is below.

“The on-going friendships and strong bonds I’ve forged with CSU graduates are the rewards of teaching at such a special place. I’ve touched a few thousand lives during my time at CSU. Hopefully I’ve left a good mark.”