RELG 045. Bob Marley's Setlist: Vibrations of a Rastafari Worldview and Ethos


On July 21, 1979, Bob Marley & the Wailers performed at Boston's Harvard Stadium as part of the Amandla Festival of Unity held in support of the liberation of South Africa. Their 90-minute reggae music concert featured a sonic-rhythmic-choreographic kaleidoscope looping the audience through 400 years of Rastafari mythic history and prophetic visions: although Africans were taken captive to Babylon (the American wilderness of racial capitalism), Jah Rasatafi had prepared a homeland in Ethiopia for the return of all Jah people, if only they chant down Babylon's destruction by preaching one love, good vibrations, and unity in I-and-I.

This class holds reggae music as a preeminent liturgical corpus of the Rastafari tradition, and investigates the Rasta worldview as performed by Bob Marley & the Wailers during their legendary Amandla set. Through a combination of concert video footage and a set of secondary source materials, students will place each Marley & the Wailers reggae anthem within its mystic Rastafari theological, aesthetic, and historic contexts. Topics include Diasporic Ethiopianism, Black Diaspora-Jewish Diaspora typology, Afro-Jamaican spirit-ecstatic musical traditions (myal, obeah, kumina, and burru), Rasta womanhood/gender, Caribbean resistance to slavery via marronage and fugitivity (Tacky's Rebellion), pan-Africanism (Marcus Garvey's UNIA "Back to Africa" Movement).
Humanities.
1 credit.
Eligible for BLST.
Spring 2021. Padilioni.
Catalog chapter: Religion  
Department website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/religion


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