BISC

at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.

The BADER INTERNATIONAL

STUDY CENTRE

at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.

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INTS 300/3.0 Cultural and Political Exchanges between England and Jamaica: from Colonisation to Jafaican Nation

Instructor: Dr. Christian Lloyd and Dr. Shara Rambarran
Email: c_lloyd@bisc.queensu.ac.uk and s_rambarran@bisc.queensu.ac.uk

Course Description

How did Bob Marley and the Wailers' Catch a Fire, an album which proselytized for revolution and a then-obscure religion, Rastafari, become a giant hit in England? Why are Clarks' shoes, originally worn only by upper-class British army officers, popular among Jamaican dancehall musicians? Why do young Londoners today often speak in a parody of Jamaican English, known as "Jafaican"?  What forms does Jamaican culture currently take in London: is it hybridized, parodic, commodified, or still oppositional to a post-colonizing society? To untangle these questions, this course looks at the history of Anglo-Jamaican relations from the colonial period to the present day. We will look at MUSIC, FASHION, FILM, the WEB and MEDIA, as well as POPULAR CULTURE, HISTORY, LITERATURE and POLITICS. The class will also investigate Anglo-Jamaican relations outside the seminar room on field studies that will likely include a walking tour of London as a Jamaican city, and a show by a Jamaican or British Caribbean artist. No background in a particular field is necessary to do well on the course, but we are looking for enthusiastic students who want to learn more about the legacies of colonialism, how popular culture negotiates changing identities, and why England and Jamaica have such a fascinating, dynamic and often ironic relationship.  Taking this course will help you to make the most of your time in England, and more fully understand the complex national histories and cultures you have chosen to enter by studying at the BISC. 

Expected Learning Outcomes
  • The course aims to develop participants’ cross-cultural competencies and to help students become more aware of their own cultural co-ordinates and how these shape, enable, and limit their understanding of other cultures
  • Students will learn some tools of cultural theory that will be useful both for analyzing the material in this course and for future studies
  • Students will be trained to ‘read’ a cityscape and to interpret a musical performance to generate primary material for an academic argument
  • Participants will work in an interdisciplinary mode, and will reflect on the advantages and issues with this approach compared to traditional disciplinary work  
  • Students will collaborate virtually with UWI studies, and begin to explore cross-cultural co-operation by this opportunity
  • The class will look at some difficult and sensitive material, and will reflect on how to deal with such as scholars 
Field Studies

Field Study 1: London as a Jamaican city: a walking tour of Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove; plus visit to The People’s Sound record shop, and the Rum Kitchen restaurant. This tour, led by the instructors, aims to defamiliarize London by seeing it as a Jamaican city, looking at some sites reflecting the initial wave of immigration and then hybridizations and commodifications of Jamaican culture in London. 

Field Study 2: concert by a British-Caribbean or Jamaican artist (TBC). The concert will be a chance to hear an artist covered in the class live, and so to consider the presentation, publicity, audience, and reviews of the performance to analyze it in terms of the themes of the course.

Primary Research Expectations

Both field studies provide primary material for use in assignments and in class discussion. Students will be advised beforehand how to take in and deploy their experiential learning and use it rigorously. A planned Skype with the University of West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, will give an opportunity to debate material from the course with Jamaican students to gauge current opinion.

Evaluation
  • Field Study Assignment (Concert review): 20%
  • Essay: 40%
  • Presentation of a Film to the castle community: 20%
  • Participation: 20%

There is no exam for the course.