Reggae, Rasta, & Revolution

Tropical beaches, positive vibrations, marijuana smoking, dreadlocks, Bob Marley: These are the images typically associated with reggae music. But there is more to the story. Reggae is a form of protest music, the unique cultural expression of Jamaica, a small Caribbean island with a tumultuous history of slavery, piracy, racism, political turmoil, and colonial rule. This course explores the development of reggae in the context of Jamaican history to show how the music deals with issues of racial oppression and the Rastafarian religion. We will also discuss how Jamaican musicians helped to create modern musical forms such as hip-hop. Finally, we will examine the worldwide spread of reggae to see how other cultures, such as the indigenous Maoris of New Zealand, have embraced the music as a way to stand up for their rights.

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