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SPR18 Haile Selassie I & the Early Rastafari

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Julie Jenkins

on 8 February 2018

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Transcript of SPR18 Haile Selassie I & the Early Rastafari

Haile Selassie I & the Early Rastafari
"The Rastafari are a 'new people' whose identity and ethnicity have shifted in relation to changing circumstances...the ethnogenesitic approach reamins valuable becuase it helps us keep in view what is happening at different levels of actions, reminds us of the agency of the people involved, and the influence of institutions and power, and how these mutually influence each other" (Price, p. 57).
Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah
What was going on in the 1930s?

-- banana industry, industrial production, or in sugar cultivation

--lots of people vocal against entrenched racial discrimination in pay, education, voting rights, hiring in government, political office, and taxation.

--conflicting ideas about the nation

British Colonial Admin
established representative self-government
still under control of Britain though
developed first political party (Peoples National Party) and labor union (Bustamante Industrial Trade Union)
Manley & Bustamante
-Early Rastafari preachers speaking out against:
-colonial power structures & values that exercised control of African diaspora
-exploitative capitalist relationships
-system where power & profits take precedence over human freedom & dignity
-racial discrimination that positioned "blackness" as inferior to British ideal/ "whiteness"

"reconstructed traditionalism"
Rastafari Ethnogenesis
Haile Selassie I -- Ras Tafari Makonnen
1930
Ethiopia
constitutional independence vs British oversight
The Pinnacle
economic communalism; small scale production
House of Youth Black Faith - 1940s
challenging British ideals of respectability & standard of beauty
Ethiopianism
"cultural resources passed on and reformed into new identities" (Price, p. 44).
Rastafari is one of a "range of contemporary cultural formations among black Jamaicans vis a vie ongoing negotiation of dynamic systems of power and domination (Thomas 2004).
"look to Africa for the crowning of a black king, he shall be redeemer"
Was the crowning of Haile Selassie I the key moment in Rastafari ethnogenesis?
Ethiopia- fought against Italian invasion in 1896
-Italy invaded again in 1935.
-Ethiopian World Federation
1917-1930-- Emperoress Zewditu
Leonard Howell, Robert Hinds, Joseph Hibbert, Archibald Dunkley
--increasing unemployment, economic insecurity
--many lost jobs
--didn't have land to go back to for agriculture
--those with jobs-- went on strike in 1938 against low wages and working conditions
Thoughts on the film?
What did you find interesting about these narratives?
Why is it important to recognize the multiple kinds of encounters and experiences of 'becoming' to understand the formation of an identity?
What does it mean to identify as a member of a group? How may identities overlap or diverge?
Why is it so easy to see complexity and diversity in the groups that we may identify with, but not in others?

How do we learn about diverse perspectives, expressions, and experiences without in the process limiting people to 'homogeneous groups'?
What material and social connections led to marijuana 'becoming' important?
Haile Selassie never himself claimed to be a divinity, which a lot of people have used to de-legitimize Rastafari.
If we are looking at this through a Durkheimian perspective, where groups project their values into a key symbol, does this matter?
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