Movement of Jah People: Reggae, Media, and the Representation of Difference
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Department: Communication
Course Number: NCOM 3009
Course Format: Seminar
Location: Online
Permission Required: No
  • Cultural Studies
  • Music History, Theory & Criticism
  • Media Studies
Reggae originated on the island nation of Jamaica, but it is one of the most popular musical forms in the world and is heard in a multitude of derivative forms in every corner of the planet. Reggae’s revolutionary spirit has stood as a potent symbol of independence and social critique and has informed notions of selfhood, nationhood, race, ethnicity, religion, and politics. The course begins with a history of reggae that considers the genre in its various forms (ska, rocksteady, dub, roots rock, DJs, toasting) and its influence on popular music worldwide. We explore the ways in which people around the world have adopted the genre's gestures, attitudes, and icons as their own and discuss the role of media in the international spread, adaptation, and enjoyment of reggae. Reading the critical and historical literature about reggae music and studying the reggae texts themselves (songs, films, videos, and images), we track its influence and responsiveness to music and cultures from the Caribbean to Britain, the United States, Latin America, Japan, Australia, and western, southern, and eastern Africa.
Course Open to: Degree Students