Abstracts - Issue CQ 58, no. 4 (December 2012)

SOCIAL DEATH/RESURRECTION

ABSTRACTS 

Leonard P. Howell’s Leadership of the Rastafari Movement and His “Missing Years” – Daive Dunkley

There has been quite a lot of interest in Rastafari’s founding leader, Leonard Percival Howell, in recent years. However, much of his approach to leadership and its impact on Jamaica during the anticolonial struggles of the 1930s to the 1960s are still to be sufficiently explored. In addition, almost nothing is known about Howell’s life after 1958 until his death in 1981, especially during the immediate postcolonial period which began in 1962. In fact, this period has been referred to as “his missing years.” In this article, using an analysis of Howell’s leadership of the Rastafari in late British Jamaica, I also examine his postcolonial activities and evaluate the claim that he can be described as “missing” during the postcolonial period. By interrogating the idea that Howell withdrew into the background, the article departs from the notion of a retreat and instead argues for Howell’s activities to be considered as an alternative approach to his leadership of the first Rastas. Most certainly his adversaries, for one, would not allow him to be seen in any role except that of leader of the Rastafari movement.

 

 

Stepping Out: Peter Tosh and the Dynamics of Afro-Caribbean Existence – Taitu Heron and Yanique Hume

 

This paper examines what we call the wordworks, or philosophical and spiritual teachings in the lyrics of Peter Tosh, as a lens through which to uncover spiritual dimensions of Afro-Caribbean existence that operate outside of the pervasive (neo) colonial status quo. Tosh, a Jamaican reggae musician, created his own language as a source of empowerment to construct an alternative and liberatory personhood and modality of being that challenged the prevailing colonial and neo-colonial hegemonic structures. The paper further repositions the significance of popular discourse and the contributions of the Spirit to articulating a Caribbean existence that moves beyond the European Enlightenment paradigm which continues to shape our intellectual discourse and movements.

 

Journeys in Poetry, Painting and Philosophy – Earl McKenzie

 

A soteriology is a system of salvation. The basic idea is that one can move from an unsatisfactory state of consciousness to a more satisfactory one. This essay presents no grand religious doctrine, but it is consistent with the basic idea. It presents autobiographical reflections on five such journeys in the form of linked philosophical thinking, the writing of poetry, and in painting. It presents five pairs of poems and paintings which explore the themes of: (1) journeying home; (2) moving from the aesthetic to intimations of transcendence; (3) a journey to folk memory; (4) a journey to a trial and to an understanding; and (5) finally, a journey from an encounter with death to the affirmation of life.

 

Defining Traditional Knowledge: A Perspective from the Caribbean – Sharon B. Le Gall

This paper discusses how traditional knowledge (lato sensu) is defined in the draft WIPO treaties under review, and the suitability of those international initiatives as a model for regional policy makers to protect traditional knowledge in the Caribbean. Specifically, it is argued that the intercultural and diverse nature of Caribbean culture presents a challenge for policy makers to create an instrument that is flexible enough to capture not only the various forms of traditional knowledge found in the region but the manner in which such knowledge was formed and developed.

 

Challenges to Solidarity across Multiple Borders: Haiti’s Free Trade Zone – Mark Schuller

Based on several observer missions to the free trade zone constructed in 2003 on the Haiti-Dominican border, this article distils lessons about solidarity working across multiple borders. Haitian workers inherited a contentious relationship with their Dominican owners, and allege multiple injustices. The most egregious, that workers were forcefully following a family planning regimen without their knowledge, lacked necessary follow-up evidence because of political “borders” as Northern NGOs refused to lend their expertise because of the local union’s affiliation with a critic of Aristide, who was deposed by international maneuvers in 2004. This ongoing refusal can be termed “left wing imperialism.”

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