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1. Culture and Customs of Jamaica
2. Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall
3. In Focus Jamaica: A Guide to the
4. Wake the Town and Tell the People:
5. Jamaica the Culture (Lands, Peoples,
6. Modern Blackness: Nationalism,
7. Martha Brae's Two Histories: European
8. Slaveholders in Jamaica: Colonial
9. Jamaica the Land (Lands, Peoples,
10. Reggae Heritage: Jamaica's Music
11. Jamaica the People (Lands, Peoples,
12. Urban Life in Kingston, Jamaica:
13. Folk Culture of the Slaves in
14. Jamaica Fi Real!: Beauty, Vibes
15. Jamaica Proverbs and Culture Explained
16. Jamaica (Cultures of the World)
17. Black Culture, White Youth: Reggae
18. Jamaica Labrish: Jamaica Dialect
19. Executive Report on Strategies
20. Jamaica in Slavery and Freedom:

1. Culture and Customs of Jamaica (Culture and Customs of Latin America and the Caribbean)
by Martin Mordecai, Pamela Mordecai
Paperback: 256 Pages (2008-10-30)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0313360596
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Editorial Review

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Jamaica is known widely for its beautiful beaches and reggae music scene, but there is much more to this Caribbean country. Culture and Customs of Jamaica richly surveys the fuller wealth of the Caribbean nation, focusing on its people, history, religion, education, language, social customs, media and cinema, literature, music, and performing and visual arts. Jamaican Creole and the education system, which are not often discussed in volumes aimed at a general audience, are also examined in this volume. Students and other interested readers will find this volume indispensable for its detailed insight on the makings of modern Jamaica.

Jamaica is known widely for its beautiful beaches and the reggae music scene, but there is much more to this Caribbean country. Culture and Customs of Jamaica richly surveys the fuller wealth of the Caribbean nation, focusing on its people, history, religion, education, language, social customs, media and cinema, literature, music, and performing and visual arts. Jamaican Creole and the education system, which are not often discussed in volumes aimed at a general audience, are also examined here. Students and other interested readers will witness the unveiling of this complicated and unique country within this volume. Indispensable for the its insights on the making of modern Jamaica.

Written by Jamaicans the island receives needed attention in this work. The history of Jamaica is well covered, from pre-Colombian times through slavery, to the impact of social activist Marcus Garvey, and the relatively new state of independence. Rastfarianism to Revivalism are covered as Jamaica's multitude of religious denominations is outlined. Various topics such as geography, demography, climate, cuisine, and the visual and performing arts are detailed. Accompanied by a chronology, this magical country comes to life in this wide-ranging volume. Anyone with an interest in Jamaica and its culture and customs will be indebted to the authors for their timely presentation. Students and general readers will find this volume indispensable.

... Read more

2. Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large
by Carolyn Cooper
Paperback: 368 Pages (2004-09-15)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$24.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1403964246
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Megawattage sound systems have blasted the electronically enhanced riddims and tongue-twisting lyrics of Jamaica's dancehall DJs across the globe. This high-energy raggamuffin music is often dissed by old-school roots reggae fans as a raucous degeneration of classic Jamaican popular music. In this provocative study of dancehall culture Carolyn Cooper, Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, offers a sympathetic account of the philosophy of a wide range of dancehall DJs: Shabba Ranks, Lady Saw, Ninjaman, Capleton, Buju Banton, Anthony B, Apache Indian. She demonstrates the ways in which the language of dancehall culture, often devalued as mere 'noise,' articulates a complex understanding of the border clashes that characterise Jamaican society. Cooper also analyses the sound clashes that erupt in the movement of Jamaican dancehall culture across national borders.
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Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Unique but imperfect
I have never had more mixed feelings about a book than about this, a collection of essays detailing Jamaican dancehall music and culture which alternates between fascinating insights and trite, shallow observation, with a tone that is at times scholarly, honest, pretentious, or silly. One quote that stands out in my mind is "A lyrical gun is the metaphorical equivalent of a physical gun." Such an inane statement (surrounded by other inane statements in context, no less) has no place in an academic study and talks down to the reader. At other times her logic is simply confusing, either because she makes large, unconvincing leaps or because her reasoning is just difficult to follow. Another silly moment occurs when Cooper attempts to rebut a statement from bad review which accused her of not being in tune with the culture about which she writes; her defense is a long, out of place anecdote about a time she got on stage with an erotic dancer named Mr. Well Hung (whose works during the day as a barber... another useless detail). This story is baffling in its inanity, inappropriateness in an academic study and the fact that it hardly makes her point that she is "with it" - in fact, some might argue that it only proves her attacker's point. And this is not the only time she gets defensive; she spends almost the entire introduction responding to detractors, which gives the book an angry, over sensitive feeling right off the bat. Nevertheless, Cooper makes plenty of fascinating insights which would be intriguing to those familiar with dancehall but especially of interest to those who know nothing about Jamaican dance and music culture. Her arguments are often simultaneously eye opening and easy to follow, encouraging the reader to press onward. Juxtapose these moments with those previously mentioned, moments that would make any respectable reader cringe, and you've got a highly mixed experience, mediocre in its entirety but smart and entertaining in segments. If you can keep the bad parts from tainting the good it's worth reading, but if by the end of the book you're fed up with all its shortcomings, it would be easy to forget about its more worthwhile parts. I recommend this, but not highly, simply because there really isn't much literature on the subject or many academic authors with Cooper's perspective or basis of opinion - that popular dancehall music, though crude and raunchy, is a topic worth serious consideration and study. It's unique but, unfortunately, quite imperfect.

5-0 out of 5 stars Carolyn Cooper--Dancehall's Cultural Theorist
Carolyn Cooper continues to be the most insightful thinker writing on the implications of Jamaican dancehall culture for the politics of gender and globalization.While Cooper focuses heavily on local Caribbean dancehall in her book, she weaves a narrative applicable to political theory and cultural studies internationally.Cooper is a folk philosopher who has been at the center of much heated debates over the last decade due to her position privileging folk life and Jamaican indigenous language--patois--over high brow theory.Cooper did not need Immanuel Kant to know that articulating the gulf between theory and practice many times revolves around disputes over competing political languages.Cooper and Kant converge insofar as they each attempt to develop universal laws of culture, of which some elements are a priori and others specific to the realm of experience.

Cooper's 1989-1990 JAMAICA JOURNAL essay "Slackness Hiding from Culture: Erotic Play in the Dancehall" was the first scholarly analysis of Jamaican dancehall culture.Since the publication of that essay, an explosion in literature on dancehall ensued.Cooper expanded the central argument of that essay into a book released a few years later entitled NOISES IN THE BLOOD.Cooper's current text under review, SOUND CLASH (2004), is an investigation into Jamaican dancehall culture at large.To study local Jamaican dancehall is to study dancehall's impact outside the island.Hence, Cooper devotes the latter third of the text to dancehall in places such as Barbados and Great Britain.Nevertheless, a majority of the work deals with interrogations into the lyrics of key musical figures in Jamaican dancehall including Ninjaman, Lady Saw, Capelton, Buju Banton, and Anthony B, and the ways in which those figures reflect wider concepts of the self, gender relations, power, and freedom.

The notion of "slackness" serves as an overarching subtext throughout.The chapter on Lady Saw is quite simply a must read, as are chapter 2 comparing the classical reggae lyrics of Bob Marley to the dancehall DJ Shabba Ranks and chapter 9 explicating dancehall in the South Asian Diaspora via the rhymes of British DJ Apache Indian (born Steve Kapur).Lady Saw in particular has been maligned by Jamaican bourgeois society much the same way that heretical European women had been marginalized by men historically in their respective cultures.Yet Lady Saw is the ultimate folk philosopher who has managed to use her lyrical prowess to destabilize conventional notions of womanhood, thus transform our understanding of concepts through the epistemological slackness she wields.As Cooper observes, "Lady Saw's brilliant lyrics, reinforced by her compelling body language, articulate a potent message about sexuality, gender politics, and the power struggle for the right to public space in Jamaica...It encompasses the cunning strategies that are employed by outspoken women like Lady Saw who speak subtle truths about their society" (p. 123).

Cooper devotes time in the Introduction to rebutting criticisms leveled against her by other dancehall commentators, one of whom is Norman Stolzoff.Stolzoff is the author of another seminal text on Jamaican dancehall, WAKE THE TOWN AND TELL THE PEOPLE (2000)--a book that I suggest readers interested in Cooper's work should also consult.Wherever you stand on the debates between Cooper and her critics, you must take those conversations as a healthy indicator of the increased awareness about dancehall and the reality that the principles of those living dancehall inside and outside Jamaica offer their own notions of universalism.In closing, I highly recommend SOUND CLASH to all those seeking to understand how a cultural form of life can indeed change the very way we view politics, theory, the world, and ourselves. ... Read more

3. In Focus Jamaica: A Guide to the People, Politics and Culture (The in Focus Guides Series)
by Peter Mason
Paperback: 92 Pages (2000-07)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1566562856
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars In Focus Jamaica: A Guide to the People, Policitics and Culture
Very good look at the history and overview of the makings of the most beautiful country we've ever seen. It really helps to understand the personalities and the heritage that brought them to the point they are at now.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not your average travel book
I was looking for a book that would tell me more than the best beaches or resorts to visit. This book is much more in depth about the culture and people than most travel books. If you want to know about the real Jamaica and not just what you see at a resort or on a tour, this is the book for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for Travelers
The greatness of Mason's guidebook is that it gives history and politics as well as travel information.Mason provides a basis for understanding the place.Another great travel companion is "Jamaica Girl" by Jon Michael Miller.Miller's novel also shows you the real Jamaica, far behind the walls of the famous all-inclusive resorts. You will see the struggles and the joys of a wonderful people, as well as meet Rosalind Juliet Mitchell, a fabulously brave and resourceful protagonist, on her search for love and freedom. It is by far the best book about Jamaica I have ever read. A wonderful story, suspenseful, sexy, funny, disturbing, and quite moving. Wonderful characters. And a great message about the power of love to transform one's existence. A great read for a vacation, or, even, a vacation in itself. ... Read more

4. Wake the Town and Tell the People: Dancehall Culture in Jamaica
by Norman C. Stolzoff
Paperback: 328 Pages (2000-01-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$16.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0822325144
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Jamaican dancehall has long been one of the most vital and influential cultural and artistic forces within contemporary global music. Wake the Town and Tell the People presents, for the first time, a lively, nuanced, and comprehensive view of this musical and cultural phenomenon: its growth and historical role within Jamaican society, its economy of star making, its technology of production, its performative practices, and its capacity to channel political beliefs through popular culture in ways that are urgent, tangible, and lasting.
Norman C. Stolzoff brings a fan’s enthusiasm to his broad perspective on dancehall, providing extensive interviews, original photographs, and anthropological analysis from eighteen months of fieldwork in Kingston. Stolzoff argues that this enormously popular musical genre expresses deep conflicts within Jamaican society, not only along lines of class, race, gender, sexuality, and religion but also between different factions struggling to gain control of the island nation’s political culture. Dancehall culture thus remains a key arena where the future of this volatile nation is shaped. As his argument unfolds, Stolzoff traces the history of Jamaican music from its roots in the late eighteenth century to 1945, from the addition of sound systems and technology during the mid-forties to early sixties, and finally through the post-independence years from the early sixties to the present.
Wake the Town and Tell the People offers a general introduction for those interested in dancehall music and culture. For the fan or musicologist, it will serve as a comprehensive reference book.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book! Great seller!
I have learned so much knowledge about Jamiacan music cultures.
This is really great for anyone!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive Dancehall Reference!
This is an excellant book, written by a genuinely knowledgeable scholar of dancehall music and Jamaican popular culture. Dr. Stolzoff has done an incredible amount of research for this book and puts it altogether with Wake The Town. A must for all reggae and dancehall afficionados. This book will be a classic for a long time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Research Study
I would like to commend Mr. Stolzoff for an in depth and enjoyable study of dancehall reggae.Being a dancehall fan for some time now, it's wonderful to see the music and culture being taken seriously.Ready first hand accounts of artists like the great Tenor Saw was an unexpected and exciting part of the book.Mr. Stolzoff goes indept as he discusses the origins of dancehall back to Africa right up to today with the top artists like Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Sizzla, etc etc.As Ricky Trooper says in the begining of the book, if you haven't been to the dancehall before, you wouldn't understand it, dancehall it something that you have to experience.Great reading!

4-0 out of 5 stars A Whole New Insight to Jamaican Music!
As a lover of the creative, colorful and very controversial culture known as Jamaican dancehall, I received this book ecstatically, but I wasn't quite sure of what to expect. I mean, this is a world that changes so rapidly that any attempts to document it have felt outdated even before their ink dried. I thought Stolzoff would play it safe and keep his approach as superficial as possible-a nice coffee table book perhaps, filled with eye-pleasing full-color pix of scantily-dressed dancehall queens, posturing dapper dons, maybe even the occasional text paragraph with amusing tidbits like, "Whatever happened to Wayne 'Sleng Teng' Smith?" Instead, I found a meticulously researched study packed with so much detail that several times I had to "wheel back and come again" (re-read pages) in order to digest it all.

Of course, this isn't the first piece of writing to cast a critical eye on dancehall; but past discussions (helmed mostly by staunch roots reggae apologists who make no bones about expressing their view of the subject as an anti-musical ebola responsible for devouring the innards of upright, "real" reggae as exemplified by the likes of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Burning Spear), irrespective of whether they have been pro- or anti-dancehall, have all revolved to varying degrees around the old dancehall "reggae" vs. "traditional" reggae issue.

Stolzoff distinguishes himself from the pack by sidestepping that stumbling block altogether: In (what I think is) a revolutionary move, he posits ALL Jamaican music, in essence, as dancehall-from the creolized drum and fiddle music of 18th century slave frolics to the thundering amplified bass blaring from contemporary Kingston sound systems. In short, he sees dancehall not as a distinct genre of music, but as an interactive method of experiencing music that might be specifically Jamaican.

Stolzoff's an anthropologist, not a rock critic, so rather than examining the music in isolation, he reconstructs the world that is dancehall's context, starting from the beginning with the sound systems, the cornerstone of the Jamaican music world.( Stolzoff scores a major coup by including extensive interviews with sound system pioneers like Hedley Jones, who provide a lot of insight into the Jamaican music experience prior to the birth of the local music industry-all other books on reggae up until this time have summed the whole era up in a sentence or two). Upon that foundation, Stolzoff layers the various social and ideological trends that have shaped the dancehall: rude boys, Rastafar-I, fashion, technology... You come to see that as chaotic as the dancehall universe appears to be, it is a well-ordered cosmology where everything has its place: sexuality, piety, violence, flamboyance, humility... They can all co-exist.

What I really, really love is the "career trajectory" Stolzoff maps out from his observation of the dancehall field. Using many of the aspiring and established dancehall stars he befriended, Stolzoff illustrates the stages of a career as a performer in the dancehall economy-which is an actual economy that employs millions of Jamaicans in various capacities.

I think this is definitely an important book and a complete must-read not only for fans of Jamaican music, but for anybody interested in the way that music and culture intersect with the daily lives of its participants.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Book on Dancehall Music
This book is too incredible to believe. For those of us who are into dancehall, when we are in the midst of it, study and academia seem so far away. I never thought it was something that someone could record on paper and carry the true vibes of the whole thing. Stolzoff has not only captured the vibes of the dancehall itself, but also the vibes of life for the dancehall community, the economy, and the realities of Jamaica today. For anyone who ever wanted to get away from the tourist fakeries of what you think Jamaica and reggae music are all about, this book is for you. Of course there is nothing like the true experience of the dancehall itself, but outside of that, this book is the next best thing. Buy this book, you won't regret it. Even most of us Jamaicans, can learn a thing or two from it. And for my anthropologists out there, this book is the most gripping, meaningful ethnography since Bourgois' "In Search of Respect : Selling Crack in El Barrio". ... Read more

5. Jamaica the Culture (Lands, Peoples, and Cultures)
by Amber Wilson
Paperback: 32 Pages (2004-03)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0778797007
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This book is suitable for children of ages 9-14. Jamaica has given the world reggae music and the Rastafarian religion. "Jamaica: The Culture" describes how this small Caribbean island has come to influence world culture through its religions, politics, and music. Full colour images document Jamaica's history and vibrant culture. The other topics include: Jamaican hero Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA); Cudjoe Day, Jamaica Festival, and reggae music festivals; Architecture that reflects the climate; Mento, ska, reggae, sound systems, and dancehall culture; Reggae music icon Bob Marley; and, Anansi stories and Jamaican creole. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Classroom Aid
It came to the point in the school year where my Gr. 3 students were looking out the window at the snow and talking about trips to Florida and Mexico and other wonder climates. I know and like Crabtree's backlist, so when I saw that there were new books about Jamaica, I jumped at the chance to transport my kids to a strange land. We found, of course, that Jamaica is not so strange afterall. This book is wonderful for highlighting the island's cultural quirks, and dimming the reader's impression that Jamaica is simply a place on the other end of a weekend travel package. If at times the book employs a bit of a fact barrage, it also displays the author's careful consideration for a beloved people. It reads as though Amber Wilson is someone who has been enamoured of the island her whole life, and is perhaps transmitting some of her personal experiences through her impeccable descriptions of its geography and the customs practiced therein. It is a formidable introduction to a under-explored culture, and it kept my entire class attentive for a week's worth of lessons! ... Read more

6. Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization, and the Politics of Culture in Jamaica (Latin America Otherwise)
by Deborah A. Thomas
Paperback: 376 Pages (2004-01-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$18.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0822334194
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Modern Blackness is a rich ethnographic exploration of Jamaican identity in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Analyzing nationalism, popular culture, and political economy in relation to one another, Deborah A. Thomas illuminates an ongoing struggle in Jamaica between the values associated with the postcolonial state and those generated in and through popular culture. Following independence in 1962, cultural and political policy in Jamaica was geared toward the development of a universal creole nationalism reflected in the country’s motto: "Out of many, one people." As Thomas shows, by the late 1990s, creole nationalism was superceded by "modern blackness"—an urban blackness rooted in youth culture and influenced by African American popular culture. Expressions of blackness that had been marginalized in national cultural policy became paramount in contemporary understandings of what it is to be Jamaican.

Thomas combines historical research with fieldwork she conducted in Jamaica between 1993 and 2003. She situates contemporary struggles over Jamaican identity in relation to late-nineteenth and early- to mid-twentieth century nationalists, scholars, and cultural activists; their visions of progress and development; and their efforts to formulate and institutionalize cultural policy. Drawing on her research in a rural hillside community just outside Kingston, she looks at how nationalist policies and popular ideologies about progress have been interpreted and reproduced or transformed on the local level. She chronicles the strategies poorer community members have used to advance their interests and discusses how these strategies are represented in popular culture. With detailed descriptions of daily life in Jamaica set against a backdrop of postcolonial nation-building and neoliberal globalization, Modern Blackness is an important examination of the competing identities that mobilize Jamaicans locally and represent them internationally. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Music for a new generation
Forget your troubles and dance!
Forget your sorrows and dance!
Forget your sickness and dance!
Forget your weakness and dance!

Lyrics to Them Belly Full (But We Hungry).(1974) Composed by Legon Cogill and Carlton Barrett.

Bob Marley's music helped define a generation of Jamaican culture through reggae.In Modern Blackness, Deborah Thomas proposes that the reggae "soundtrack" for Jamaica has been succeeded by dancehall, just as cultural identity has evolved to fit a new vision of blackness.She suggests that the "modern blackness of late-twentieth century. . . is urban, migratory, based in youth-oriented popular culture, and influenced by African American popular style" (p. 229).Thomas also asserts that black identity in Jamaica is not post-modern, which suggests a break with the past, rather connected to the development of an identity rooted in the local and historical yet dependent on national and transnational pressures.Thomas explores modern blackness by dissecting these influences on culture in Jamaica.She breaks her analysis into three sections: the global-national, the national-local, and the local-global.This separation allows for a critical analysis of the various influences while displaying both the connections and dissonances.

In order to guide her analysis of modern blackness in Jamaica, Thomas uses two years of ethnographic research conducted between 1993 and 2003.In this book, she brings us to a real community outside Kingston, fictitiously named Mango Mount, as a means of illustrating the concepts of modern blackness on a local community.Using this community as an example of the influence of modern blackness and a source of information provides a tangible illustration of how modern blackness is set in the everyday, yet linked to a national and global community. In addition to information about Mango Mount, Thomas delves into the historical influences on Jamaica prior to independence, as a new state, and within the context of a transnational society.She looks at modern blackness in the context of race issues, gender identity, socioeconomic differences and as an aspect of Jamaican culture.Her research also pulls in national and international institutions and their influences within Jamaica and Mango Mount.This wide scope provides the reader with a comprehensive yet contextualized understanding of cultural influences in Jamaica while illustrating that "culture is both the problem to solve and the recipe to follow" (p. 87).

Thomas begins her book with the global-national.She illustrates how the modern identity and culture are connected to pre-independence institutions, norms, and social hierarchies.Here she connects Jamaican identify to religious doctrines, emancipation literature, and the remnants of colonialism.In providing a historical context for her book, she links "blackness (a racial identity) and Jamaicanness (a national identify)" in order to elucidate the complex origins of the modern blackness (p. 30).In her focus on race and nationality, Thomas explores how concepts of blackness and brownness as well as notions of what it means to be Jamaican have contributed to national and global influences in the creation of modern blackness.

In understanding the national-local, Thomas' discussion of the reemergence of state-supported Emancipation Day celebrations provides insight into community connections to national policies.She pairs sections from the Report on National Symbols and Observations with quotes from Mango Mount community members regarding the renewed state interested in the celebration of Emancipation Day.She notes that "the dominant sense among nationalist elites was that the removal of Emancipation Day as a public holiday had left Jamaican youth without an awareness of their heritage and the steps in Jamaica's evolution toward modern statehood" (p. 162).However, community members generally did not see the Emancipation Day celebration as an educational movement, rather they viewed it as related to political maneuvering, as a distraction from "the government's ability to implement successful economic policies," or as "meaningless and irrelevant" to the average person (p. 168-169).Thomas also shows how the local celebration of Emancipation Day celebrations did not escape contemporary influences; inclusion of traditional kumina dance rhythm into the Emancipation Day play in Mango Mount was replaced by steps to a dancehall beat (p. 172).Thomas' illustration of the contrasting visions regarding the purpose of the reinstatement of Emancipation Day reflects the greater disparity between national and local views of modernity.

As Thomas explores the local-global, she places Mango Mount within the global economy.She illustrates the influences of global institutions and marketing in local choices and looks at how trends at the local level reflect global influences.She notes, the "entrepreneurial zeal with which people in Mango Mount seek to take advantage of migratory possibilities has facilitated their relative success within a global labor market," yet it has contributed to leadership deficits at the local level, problems for those unable to migrate, and "perpetuated an outward outlook whereby local ambitions require foreign realization" (p. 261).Nevertheless, in interviewing people in Mango Mount, Thomas finds that many people feel that "the United States was the place to make a living while Jamaica was the place to make life," illustrating that while economic opportunities necessitate global movement, local lifestyles continue to define aspects of national identity (p. 224). She also identifies the influences of the global on local music choices (such as dancehall rather than drumming) and culture.For example, she notes that dancehall music is a function of global influences tempered by Jamaican underclass definitions. Thomas notes, "Dancehall is not merely a response to hegemonic power but marks the changing aesthetic and political space that both contests and (re)produces broader relations of power" (p. 243).

Thomas provides a readable, enjoyable, yet critical look at modernity in Jamaica that bridges the past to connect to the future.She demonstrates that the global society has complex influences on blackness that are intertwined within Jamaica's historical context and national identity. Thus, Bob Marley's command, "You're gonna dance to Jah music" continues to push people to dance, even as the background music of modern blackness has changed from reggae to dancehall.

5-0 out of 5 stars Redefining Jamaicanness in the Evolving Global Climate
"Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, gear on up, it's bobsled time!"This quote from the all-too forgettable movie Cool Runnings about a team of Jamaicans that made it to the Olympics accentuates how music becomes a part of the transnational Jamaican identity through global popular culture.An association to identity, such as music, reflects what Deborah Thomas refers to as "modern blackness," which has superceded the postcolonial identity of a creole nation with the motto "Out of many, one people."By ethnographically exploring Jamaican nationalism from the end of the 19th century to the present, Thomas sorts out the complex effects of colonialism and globalization on inequalities of race, class, and gender in her inspiring work Modern Blackness.Cultural practices, such as reggae, which were developed by lower class Jamaicans are unrecognized as part of the broader national identity.
Deborah Thomas structure's the text in an interesting way by outlining the relationships between the global-national, national-local, and local-global.By contextualizing the evolution of Jamaican identity, Thomas' argument flows from historical perspective during the "Crown Colony rule" to a contemporary understanding that effectively "clarifies the links between global processes, nationalist visions, and local practices (p. 31, then 19)."The capstone of her fieldwork is in Mango Mount where she uncovers the culture being shaped under neoliberal policies that continue to economically restrain the community.
The diasporal feeling of nationalism before Jamaica's independence from Britain in 1962 is based on the ongoing struggle of asserting an identity of the "respectable state."The early works by black Jamaicans such as Jamaican's Jubilee highlight their attempt to prove advancements in the black community, both morally and culturally.Asserting various aspects of Jamaicanness was an effort to unite one people with values held by the middle-class.Thomas posits, "As black intellectuals, the Jubilee writers insisted that they articulated important mass concerns on the basis of their shared blackness, but they distanced themselves from lower-class blacks and African-derived cultural expressions (pg. 48)."Jamaican pride was racially characterized through forms of artistic expression and reflections of Creole multiracialism.The author adds that this identity "more closely resembled classical European nationalism (which) was founded on a concept of common history and culture rather than race and, as in Europe, obscured the conflation of class with race (pg. 55)."By embracing Jamaican heritage, the country demarcated themselves from historical representations of Africanness, as well as the practices of the poorer urban class.This reflected the attitudes of many previously enslaved individuals coming from rural areas with "values" and "respectable" culture.Thomas argues that references to "values" emulate the history of colonialism and reinvent the inequalities of power and class.
The national-local relationship is displayed by the author through the cultural politics of a tiny village with the fictitious name Mango Mount, just outside of Kingston.Throughout the end of the twentieth century, the leadership of the national government followed global economic policies through democracy and capitalism; therefore disconnecting themselves from the indigenous localities, one of which is Mango Mount.Thomas explains, "It has remained difficult for many Jamaicans to sustain the imagination of a community whose primary political, economic, and sociocultural institutions have been developed by black lower-class Jamaicans (pg. 91)."In her work in Mango Mount, the author demonstrates the practices that distinguish lower-class and local youth culture as forthcoming in flamboyant ways, especially during celebrations in the town square.The square becomes a noisy dancehall that is routinely scrutinized by middle-class residences.Thomas describes her experience and the comments of a participant in the following way: "Rhythm and blues and reggae gave way to hardcore dancehall toward the wee hours of the morning...and (unfortunately) were never as good as in other communities because the "rich people" would always call the police to `lock down the music' because `dem nuh like fi see wi do wha we a do' (pg. 114)."Although I do not understand exactly what this Jamaican was trying to express, it is valid to see how the shift to youthful urban blackness has been influenced by American popular culture and has redefined what it means to be "very, very, Jamaican."The ordinary lower class is challenging the previously held Afro-Jamaican identities of their postemancipation history.Thomas justifies these contradicting attitudes by stating, "Their worlds were increasingly urban and transnational and because they had apprehended the fundamental disjuncture between political and economic development strategies and cultural development initiatives they had to (look back, take pride, but move forward) (pg. 190)."Moving forward has caused a transition of political hegemony and has been characterized by activism and agency at the local level.
The racialized version of nationalism, which excluded urban culture, is now personified as contemporary `modern blackness'.Distinctions are being made between definitions of black and brown, as well as what constitutes Africanness and Blackness.Thomas adds, "If consciousness of an African heritage operated primarily on a symbolic level, even within popular expressive culture, racial consciousness was continually through day to day experiences of color prejudice and discrimination, both in Jamaica and abroad (pg. 183)."The relationship between local and international now bypasses state efforts that hold identities of British imperialism and further define Jamaicanness in terms of globalization and popular style.Thomas focuses on the influences of America on Jamaican culture, as well as Jamaica's ability to influence American culture.The irony of this "two-way process" is the size of Jamaica as a country and their power to impose Jamaicanness globally.The author states, "The frequency of these invocations also suggests a need to carve out spaces in which Jamaicans feel, and indeed have, power and recognition within a global public sphere (pg. 250)."Many Jamaican immigrants have spread this power and presented future possibilities for `moving ahead.'
Deborah Thomas' work is important in understanding the lasting effects of colonial rule, as well as the changing socio-political climates of globalization.What is clear is that Jamaicanness is not American, European, African, black, white, or brown.It is its own evolving identity that has become shaped by all these identities within the global environment.Finally, Modern Blackness presents possibilities for change and improvement where dreams become realized in the context of Jamaica's future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply a superb ethnography
Deborah A. Thomas is a cartographer of culture who maps the topography of Jamaican culture through time, across class, between urban and rural locales, and over a variety political landscapes.What emerges from her work is a detailed analysis of the various contours of culture that follow the shifting fault lines of Jamaica's political economy. Deborah Thomas has written a beautiful ethnography. Central to her analysis are several questions: what does it mean to be Jamaican? what role does culture play for a black and brown nation? and, what role does a black and brown nation play in shaping Jamaica's culture?

Dr. Thomas frames her important study by documenting the way a multi-racial creole culture was significantly eclipsed, during the late 1990s,by a culture of blackness forged in modernity but produced and re-produced in decidedly post-modern ways.Aligning this shift with shifts in the global economy, she 'reads' these changes through a variety of performances. Some of the performances she explores explicitly claim to represent Jamaica's national culture, but other performances she describes explicitly claim to counter notions of respectability to represent a sort of in-your-face booty grinding blackness, which ends up emerging as the cultural practices of the nation's people.

Thomas brilliantly illustrates how culture, nation, and the ideology of progress are implicated in an understanding of what blackness and Jamaican identity actually mean in various contexts. As she notes, "context is everything" and she takes the reader inside a variety of institutions that seek to define and redefine both race and culture in turn-of-the-century Jamaica. This approach is refreshing. She not only identifies structural entities that dictates cultural policy in Jamaica, but she identifies the agents within those structures, actually putting a name to both the powerful and the powerless,who constantly jostle over who gets to claim and name what constitutes Jamaican culture.From the organized and powerful National Dance Theater Company to the unorganized and entertaining"roots" theater performances, she allows the reader to experience the way theparticipants (dancers/actors and audience) perform, respond, and contest ideologies of race, nation, and progress. She does not stop there, however, weddings and dance hall session, movies and newspaper clippings are each scrutinized in an effort to buttress her argument that the multi-racial creole nationalism is waning as a modern blackness tied to the global economy waxes and the meaning of what it means to be Jamaican hangs in the balance.

Deborah Thomas has written a bold, refreshing, and powerful ethnography that grapples with some of the most sticky theoretical issues in contemporary theory today -- blackness, globalization, modernity, and the idea progress. ... Read more

7. Martha Brae's Two Histories: European Expansion and Caribbean Culture-Building in Jamaica
by Jean Besson
Paperback: 424 Pages (2002-11-25)
list price: US$32.95 -- used & new: US$7.33
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Asin: 0807854093
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Based on historical research and more than thirty years of anthropological fieldwork, this wide-ranging study underlines the importance of Caribbean cultures for anthropology, which has generally marginalized Europe's oldest colonial sphere.

Located at the gateway to the New World in the plantation heartlands of the Americas, the settlement of Martha Brae, Jamaica, has witnessed the unfolding of two distinct, yet interrelated histories. Exploring the significance of Martha Brae as a European-Caribbean slaving port in the eighteenth century, Jean Besson simultaneously uncovers the neglected tale of Martha Brae's gradual appropriation by ex-slaves and its transformation into an African-Caribbean free village, bringing the story right up into the present day.

Central to this transformation is the system of "family land", which interrelates with kinship, community, economy, cosmology, gender, oral tradition, and state law. Besson shows that this customary land tenure is not a passive survival from either Africa or Europe, as conventional theories contend, but a dynamic creole institution created by Caribbean people in response to European-American land monopoly and cultural dominance. This perspective advances debates on African-American cultural history and the anthropological study of culture. ... Read more

8. Slaveholders in Jamaica: Colonial Society and Culture During the Era of Abolition (Empires in Perspective)
by Christer Petley
Hardcover: 211 Pages (2009-09-15)
list price: US$99.00 -- used & new: US$90.09
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Asin: 185196990X
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The Atlantic slave economy was crucial to Britain's colonial enterprise during the eighteenth century but, after the 1780s, abolitionist campaigns helped to undermine the influence and power of British slaveholders. As inhabitants of the largest and most lucrative of the sugar islands in the British empire, slaveholders in Jamaica found themselves at the centre of a transatlantic conflict over the future of slavery, facing vehement political opposition from reformers in the metropole and encountering new kinds of local challenges. Slaveholders in Jamaica combines social and cultural history to explore the composition, social relations and cultural attitudes of the Jamaican slaveholding class during this era. It looks at how white colonists tried to maintain control over Jamaican society and provides a detailed account of their violent and increasingly radical efforts to defend the advantages that they enjoyed as slaveholding white men. This book is based on extensive research in British and Caribbean archives.It sheds valuable new light on the struggle for emancipation in the British empire and on the slaveholders who tried to maintain and defend a system of exploitation that has cast an enduring shadow over the modern world. ... Read more

9. Jamaica the Land (Lands, Peoples, and Cultures)
by Amber Wilson
Paperback: 32 Pages (2004-02)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$5.57
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Asin: 0778796981
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This book is suitable for children of ages 9-14. Described in tourist brochures as a land of white sand beaches, sun, and surf, Jamaica is also a mountainous island with green forests, trickling streams, and modern cities. Beautiful colour photos depict the island's tropical beauty, busy cities, and back-country villages. The other topics include: The history of the word Jamaica (land of wood and water in the Taino language); How Jamaica was formed from volcanic eruptions; The varied landscapes of Jamaica: The Great Morass, the Royal Palm Reserve, and the Blue mountains; Jamaica's history and people and the early sugar plantations, to coffee growing, rum making, bauxite mining. ... Read more

10. Reggae Heritage: Jamaica's Music History, Culture & Politic
by Lou Gooden
Paperback: 392 Pages (2003-10-14)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$17.63
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Asin: 1410780627
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Reggae Heritage is a Great Buy, Valuable Information!
"Reggae Heritage" is the 21st Century Encyclopedia of Jamaica's Music History and more.
Author, Lou Gooden, takes you step by step, going into such explicit details, from his personal experience and knowledge of the industry.
"Reggae Heritage" is captivating, enlightening and even sometimes surprising, with valuable information on the biography of the artists and the legend of Reggae music.
As a direct result of reading "Reggae Heritage" and the knowledge attained, I most certainly recommend this book as a great buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reggae Heritage is a "Must Have"
Reggae Heritage is a masterpiece that is packed with colorful history, factual information and a sense of humor, a book that has a value beyond words.It's controversial content that is peppered throughout the book gives readers a grounded and authentic bird's eye view of what Lou Gooden experienced first hand.I enjoyed reading Reggae Heritage, it provided many things that I did not know and found quite fascinating. I consider it to be an excellent learning tool and a "must have" ... Read more

11. Jamaica the People (Lands, Peoples, and Cultures)
by Amber Wilson
Paperback: 32 Pages (2004-03)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$5.00
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Asin: 077879699X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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This book is suitable for children of ages 9-14. The motto on Jamaica's coat of arms, "Out of Many, One People," reflects the diversity of cultures that is Jamaica today. "Jamaica: The People" follows the island's history from colony to independence and beyond. Fabulous images and special spreads on food and life in a Maroon village show a side of Jamaica not depicted in tourist pamphlets. The other topics include: The Taino people - Jamaica's first inhabitants; The slave trade and the plantation system; Pirates of the Caribbean; Rebellion and resistance to slavery and oppression; Jamaican heroes such as Paul Bogle ,Nanny, Marcus Garvey and Alexander Bustamante; Jamaican influence abroad and Jamaican foods made famous. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Jamaica the People
Very brief, only 32 pages. Geared more towards children, although for those looking for information on the cultures and the people, this is helpful. ... Read more

12. Urban Life in Kingston, Jamaica: The Culture and Class Ideology of Two Neighborhoods (Caribbean Studies, Volume 3)
by D. J. Austin
 Hardcover: Pages (1984-01-01)
list price: US$125.00
Isbn: 2881240062
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13. Folk Culture of the Slaves in Jamaica
by Edward Brathwaite
Paperback: 24 Pages (1970-06)

Isbn: 0901241059
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14. Jamaica Fi Real!: Beauty, Vibes and Culture
by Kevin O'Brien Chang
Paperback: 256 Pages (2010-11-05)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$30.00
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Asin: 9766373973
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Beautiful; aggressive; exuberant, talkative; humorous; resourceful; unpredictable Jamaica brings many adjectives to mind, but boring is not one of them. No other country so young and so small has had such global cultural influence as the land of Marcus Garvey, Louis Bennett, Bob Marley and Usain Bolt. Jamaica Fi Real provides an in-depth look at Jamaica s people, history, music, sports, religion and culture, creating a vivid twenty-first century portrait of perhaps the world s most fascinating island.Author of bestselling book Reggae Routes: The Story of Jamaican Music and longstanding columnist with the Jamaica Observer and the Jamaica Gleaner newspapers, Kevin O Brien Chang, paints a real and insightful portrait of Jamaica looking at its music, culture, sports, religion, history and people. To the world at large Jamaica means sunny beaches, reggae and rum, but Jamaica Fi Real: Beauty, Vibes and Culture goes far beyond the surface exposing and exploring the unique things that make Jamaica, Jamaica; in some cases setting the record straight, and also highlighting some significant achievements and little known facts about Jamaica. Did you know that in the 2008 Olympics Jamaica won more gold sprint medals than every other country put together?; that Ska a mixture of rhythm and blues, mento, revival and rastafarian music was born in poor west Kingston ghettos?; or that Martin Luther King Jr praised Jamaica as having felt more at home there than anywhere else in the world?Lavishly illustrated with over 200 images featuring places to go, foods to eat, religious practices and cultural and historical icons, no other book on or about Jamaica provides such an in-depth, honest and creative representation of Jamaica as Jamaica Fi Real. It will appeal to the Jamaican Diaspora, persons wanting to visit Jamaica, and persons generally interested in Jamaican history, culture and lifestyle. ... Read more

15. Jamaica Proverbs and Culture Explained
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2001-10-12)
-- used & new: US$140.55
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Asin: 1899341099
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16. Jamaica (Cultures of the World)
by Sean Sheehan, Angela Black
Library Binding: 144 Pages (2005-01)
list price: US$42.79 -- used & new: US$19.49
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Asin: 0761417850
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Explores the geography, history, government, economy, and culture of Jamaica. ... Read more

17. Black Culture, White Youth: Reggae Tradition from Jamaica to U.K. (Communications & culture)
by Simon Jones
 Paperback: 280 Pages (1988-06-02)
-- used & new: US$155.25
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Asin: 0333452550
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18. Jamaica Labrish: Jamaica Dialect Poems (1991)
by Louise Bennett
 Paperback: 224 Pages (1991)

Asin: B000BXGZYG
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Interesting Jamaica dialect poems. ... Read more

19. Executive Report on Strategies in Jamaica, 2000 edition (Strategic Planning Series)
by The Jamaica Research Group, The Jamaica Research Group
Ring-bound: 91 Pages (2000-11-02)
list price: US$910.00 -- used & new: US$910.00
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Asin: 0741827883
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Jamaica has recently come to the attention to global strategic planners.This report puts these executives on the fast track.Ten chapters provide: an overview of how to strategically access this important market, a discussion on economic fundamentals, marketing & distribution options, export and direct investment options, and full risk assessments (political, cultural, legal, human resources).Ample statistical benchmarks and comparative graphs are given. ... Read more

20. Jamaica in Slavery and Freedom: History, Heritage and Culture
Paperback: 320 Pages (2002-04)
list price: US$42.00 -- used & new: US$34.57
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Asin: 976640108X
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