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Rastaman chant

The spring semester starts Monday, and I'm really looking forward to teaching a new course I've developed that will be offered in the university's honors program.

The course is called "The Life and Times of Bob Marley." I know what you think: The students and I will be sitting around in a classroom with the lights off, puffing on spliffs the size of shoes and listening to reggae. But you would be wrong.

Here's my outline for the class. It will examine issues such as:
• The history of Jamaica, including a close look at the roots of the island’s settlers.
• British colonialism in the West Indies in general and Jamaica in particular.
• The history of slavery on the island, including parallels with American history.
• Jamaican politics in the mid-20th century, including the assassination attempt on Marley in December 1976.
• The Jamaican economy of the mid-20th century.
• Social trends related to the island’s economy at that time.
• The Rude Boys.
• Marcus Garvey, his call for independence for Jamaica, and the Pan-African movement.
• The life history of Ras Tafari Makonnen and his supposed Biblical lineage.
• The importance of former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie to the Rastafari movement, as well as influences of different religions on Rastafari.
• The Rastafari culture in Jamaica.
• The Rastas’ concept of the Western World (“Babylon.”)

All of these topics, and others, intersect at Bob Marley. We will:
• Examine Marley’s life from his rural roots to his youth in Trench Town to his later life.
• Examine Marley’s musical influences and history, including his relationships with Peter Tosh and Neville Livingston (Bunny Wailer), and the role Chris Blackwell played in promoting Marley and his music.
• See how and why Marley’s developing world view was reflected in his music as his career grew.
• Examine how Marley embraced the Rastafari way of life and how it was reflected in his music.
• Marley’s continuing popularity and legacy.

Lots of fun coming up. As the Rastas would say, "Iri ites!"


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 8th, 2014 01:26 am (UTC)
I'm sure it will be a blast for you to teach, and a great learning experience for your honors students.
Jan. 8th, 2014 02:18 am (UTC)
Another odd item for my résumé.

I'm sitting here listening to "Rebel Music" from the Marley/Wailers album "Natty Dread." Great song about getting stopped by cops, having to produce birth certificates, and having to throw away "my little herb stalk." There is a whole lot of Jamaica in just that one song.
Jan. 10th, 2014 07:07 pm (UTC)
Jan. 11th, 2014 06:10 pm (UTC)
The real Marley's response would have been "Pure Babylon say I."
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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