UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Overstandin: A southern methodology

02 February 2023, 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

Favela in Brazil

The IGP welcomes Jaspal Naveel Singh (The Open University) for a Director's Seminar

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Institute for Global Prosperity


103, Jeffery Hall
Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
United Kingdom

How do people in the global south find new methods of understanding their positions in the world and contributing to their own and their communities’ prosperity? A methodology is a theory of how to do things, how to make sense of the world and how to answer pertinent questions. In this talk, I will present one specific methodology that was developed in the global south and that is associated with hip hop culture and Rastafarianism, namely overstandin. Overstandin is a confident and reflexive methodology with which people analyse their life-worlds, come to terms with their histories of oppression and imagine their futures. To show how overstandin operates as a southern methodology in discourse, I will present the lyrics of a canonical hip hop song in which the rapper overstands the racialised histories of plantation slavery and police brutality in the Americas. By unpacking the complexities of the lyrical arguments of this song, we get to understand how people situated in the global south develop their own methodologies.   

The speaker
Jaspal Naveel Singh is a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and English Language at the Open University. His teaching and research interests revolve around the complex interconnections between language and culture (i.e. languaging and transculturation). He takes epistemological and affectological inspiration from classic western and eastern philosophy, hip hop and other Black diasporic traditions, to arrive at a type of research that complexifies standard approaches in the social sciences. For example, he aims to problematise research ethics and common-sense writing strategies. Before joining the Open University, he was Assistant Professor of Sociolinguistics at the School of English, the University of Hong Kong. He completed his PhD at the Centre for Language and Communication Research, Cardiff University under the supervision of Dr Frances Rock. He studied Linguistics, Philosophy and Medieval and Modern History at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. Jaspal Naveel Singh currently uses the pronouns he, his and him.

Part of the 2023 Spring Series of Soundbites and Director's Seminars - Prosperity and the Popular 

Original image by anja_schindler from Pixabay