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Jamaica, Rasta & Reggae SPR14

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Julie Jenkins

on 29 February 2016

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Transcript of Jamaica, Rasta & Reggae SPR14

Jamaica, Rasta & Reggae
Work all night on a drink of rum
(Daylight come and me wan' go home)
Stack banana till the mornin' come
(Daylight come and me wan' go home)

Come, Mister Tally Man, tally me banana
(Daylight come and me wan' go home)
Come, Mister Tally Man, tally me banana
(Daylight come and me wan' go home)

--1494, Christopher Columbus
--Diego Columbus 1509
--establish Spanish colony (Santiago)
Looking for gold & silver
--used indigenous population, Arawak Indians, as labor
--population of 60,000 died b/c of disease & working conditions
British- 1655
--settlers given land to cultivate sugar and cocoa
--relied on import of African slaves for labor
--series of rebellions
--Slavery ended in 1834
--former slaves served as 'apprentices' for 4-6 years
--full emancipation in 1838
-some former slaves stayed working for plantation owners
Correlation between race & social/economic class
--race understood as meaning that some people "were incapable of possessing mental and moral qualities necessary in his rise in the scale of true civilization"
--Social Darwinism

late 19th century- early 20th century
---sugar cultivation decreases
--American corporation starts banana production and export
--lands sold, people had to turn to wage labor in banana production/export
--emergent middle-class through clerical posts
--Affected by Great Depression in 1930s
--increasing unemployment, economic insecurity
--many former slaves lost jobs in banana industry
--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 government
--still under control of Britain though
--developed first political party and labor union
Backdrop for Black Nationalist Movements
--late 19th century "Jubilee Jamaica"
1930s- Rastafari Movement
--Haile Selassi I crowned as emperor of Ethiopia
--known as Ras Tafari
--understood by Jamaican activists as a messiah, bringing freedom to all Africans
--use of symbols that demonstrate rejection of 'middle/upper' class values, capitalism, and wage labor
--Not really politically engaged initially
--but authorities viewed them suspiciously
--compounds raided
--moved into slums of Kingston alongside other lower-class persons
--picked up musical protest
Buju Banton "Untold Stories"
“I am living while I am living to the father I will pray
Only him knows how we get through everyday
With all the hike in the price
Arm and leg we have to pay
While our leaders play

All I see people a rip and a rob and a rival
Tief never love fe see tief wid long bag
No love for the people who a sufferin bad
Another toll to the poll may God help we soul
What is to stop the youths from get out of control
Full up of education yet no on no payroll
The clothes on my back have countless eyehole.
I could go on and on the fool has never been thrown

Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And another Inferior Is finally And permanently Discredited And abandoned -Everywhere is war - Me say war.
That until there no longer / First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man's skin Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes - Me say war.
That until the basic human rights Are equally guaranteed to all, Without regard to race - Dis a war.
That until that day The dream of lasting peace, World citizenship Rule of international morality Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, But never attained
Now everywhere is war - War.

--historically positioned within processes of globalisation
--how experiences of racial and class-based inequality are negotiated and contested
--brought over 1st group of African slaves in 1517
-others settled elsewhere
--Baptist Church bought and subdivded property
--"free villages"
-plantation owners imported Chinese and Indian indentured servants
--marginalization of former slaves from accumulation of land, wealth, education
--political power determined by land ownership and literacy
-expansion of British colonial control
--"Right & duty" to guide formers slaves towards civiliation
Manley vs Bustamante
"whiten" black peasantry
--via middle class British values & "respectability"
discipline
temperance
work
thrift
industry
self-help
Christian living
family structure:
--marriage
--male leadership
respect for leadership of educated middle-class
--Marcus Garvey (born 1887)
--recognized RACISM as factor in black social and economic success
--vs blacks incapable of ecnomic success b/c of bioligical differences
--vision of black owned businesses
Racism:
--not just 'beliefs"
--institutional
--distribution of power, access to wealth
--Sacredness of nature (I-Tal)

--Word Sound Power
--spoken word as manifestation of divine presence and power to create and bring destruction
personally achieved wisdom, through interpretation of Biblical texts & speeches of Haile Selassie
-Reasoning Sessions
-Ritualized use of marijuana
challeging:
--colonial values & institutions that exercised control over the African diaspora
--experience of suffering in Jamaican society
--Jamaican class, racial, religious, economic, and educational institutions
--Marked those of African descent as inferior to European 'ideal'
--system where struggle for power and profits takes precedence over human freedom & dignity
"Babylon"
--Book of Revelation: symbol of evil
--forces that "downpress" and dehumanize
--Initially, understood as Jamaica b/c of colonial hierarchies
--symbolically opposite of Babylon
-true home, place of redemption
--pride, community, charity, serenity
--advocate for physical or symbolic repatriation

Dreads
--reject Babylon's standard of beauty
--middle-class norms of grooming
-bleaching, hair straightening
Dread-Talk
--challenge symbolic usage of English as marker of civility
-I an I
-downpression
-overstand
Economic communalism
--rejection of capitalist exploitation
Unchanging?
--dynamic
--responds to economic and social inequalities
-organized system of beliefs?
-doctrine?
-place?

ethnocentric..
--can be more integrated system of thought, without doctrine, place, rituals
E.B. Tylor's definition:
--Belief in Supernatural Beings
Robert Marrett
--Mana: impersonal force or power (Melanesia/Polynesia)
Religion is:
--Worldview
--set of practices, norms, values, etc
How do anthropologists make sense of religion?
Religion is an intellectual activity:

--helps to understand and explain the world around us and the events that happen to us
Evans-Pritchard & the Azande
Know the "How"
--Asking the "Why Me?"
Geertz - Reassures us that the world is orderly & meaningful
(not chaotic)
--model of & model for reality
Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the 'and of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly.
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom? -
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look? Ooh!
Some say it's just a part of it:
We've got to fulfil de book.
Religion provides for Psychological Needs
--Malinowski-- Religion helps us cope with times of trouble
--gives people confidence in circumstances they can't control
Use rituals to ‘control’ the uncontrollable
--Doing so, removes anxiety and fear
Religion has social functions (Durkheim)
--instills and maintains values
--enforces social order
--promotes social cohesion
project the social values and norms of society into a symbol
During rituals, social cohesion is achieved through a re-attachment to the social values of the community.
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