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New Undergraduate Course Supplement 2018


ENGL 55.19 Maroons to Marley: Jamaica's Role in Worldwide Revolutions from Slavery to the Present Day

In 1738, a hundred years before legal emancipation came to England’s New World slave colonies, Jamaica’s Maroons forced the colonial power to sign a treaty granting sovereignty to Maroon communities across the Caribbean island. As the first Africans in the New World to achieve this feat, Maroon warriors directly and indirectly influenced abolitionist and revolutionary movements throughout the Americas—including, of course, revolts in Haiti and the United States. These warriors continued to inspire the revolutionary actions of other oppressed and/or enslaved individuals for generations, and indeed, a revolutionary ethos pervades Jamaican culture and artistic production from the colonial period to the present moment. This course traces the impact of “Jamaican” revolutionary figures on other revolutionary figures and events worldwide. Moving chronologically, from colonialism to the present day, the course examines influences such as African/Jamaican Maroon leaders direct impact on other revolutions throughout the Americas; Mary Seacole’s exchanges with and impact on Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War; Marcus Garvey’s impact on the Harlem Renaissance and the Rastafari religion; Claude McKay’s revolutionary impact on vernacular poetics and on the “Red Scare;” Louise Bennett’s mid-twentieth century revolutionary, feminist, vernacular poetics and her impact on female performers in the Americas, Europe, and Africa; Bob Marley and Damian Marley’s impact on politics and revolutionary movements in Liberia and Ghana; and finally, the impact of Staceyann Chin’s outspoken poetics on LGBTQ rights in the Caribbean and in other marginalized African diasporic communities.

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