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Haile Selassie I & the Early Rastafari

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Julie Jenkins

on 1 May 2015

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Transcript of Haile Selassie I & the Early Rastafari

Haile Selassie I & the Early Rastafari
What does Price mean by invoking the term ethnogenesis to help explain the emergence of Rastafari?
-identity has shifted in relating to changing circumstances
-different levels of action- agency of people, influence of institutions and power
What was the most influential key moment in Rastafarian ethnogenesis?
Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah
"...Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained; And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will; Until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the eyes of Heaven; Until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil." Haile Selassie I 1963
Leonard Howell, Robert Hinds, Joseph Hibbert, Archibald Dunkley
What was going on in the 1930s?
--Affected by Great Depression in 1930s
--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
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 vs Bustamante
-speaking out against:
-colonial power structures
-exploitative capitalist relationships
-racial discrimination that positioned "blackness" as inferior

So how did the central ideologies, symbols, and practices associated with Rastafarians develop?
"reconstructed traditionalism"
How do anthropologists make sense of religion?
Intellectualist Approach: religion is an attempt to make sense of and explain one's experience and the world around us

Symbolist/Interpretive Approach:
examine what religions represent; how do symbols and rituals act as metaphors for social life
Clifford Geertz
need to interpret culturally specific "webs of significance" that people create and are caught up in
--and how they relate to various social structures
Provides way to interpret the world-- "models of"
--Reassures us that the world is orderly & meaningful (not chaotic)--
Connecting us to a reality 'more real' than everyday life.
"models for" because they also direct our behaviours
--"symbolic templates"
In ritual, “the world as lived and the world as imagined turn out to be the same world”
In looking at these songs, how do they act as a model of, or interpretative lens for reality, and a model for engaging within that reality?
Emile Durkheim
--The main issue is social integration and cohesion—the creation and perpetuation of the group as a group.
--project the social values and norms of society into a symbol
--When the group celebrates its spirits or gods, the group is representing its society to itself.
What key symbols are used that encompass the group's values?
Dread Talk
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