Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum

GENERAL => Rastafari => Topic started by: Tian on September 11, 2003, 08:06:34 AM

Title: Anthropological research on Rastafari
Post by: Tian on September 11, 2003, 08:06:34 AM

I am an anthropologist doing research on Rastafari ideology. As part of my research, I am following the discussions on this forum.

It is my impression that ever since the 1960 UWI Report on the Rastafarians in Kingston, Jamaica, anthropological studies among Rastafari have been controversial. As a sympathizer of the movement, I agree that many of these studies misrepresented Rastafari.

Personally, I believe it is possible for a sympathetic anthropologist to represent Rastafari perspectives, and advocate Rastafari viewpoints within the academic community of Babylon.

I would like to open a discussion about anthropological research on Rastafari, and I hope you are willing to share your viewpoints.....



Title: Re: Anthropological research on Rastafari
Post by: Rootsie on September 11, 2003, 09:29:38 AM
I think it would be interesting to know what your particular lenses are in looking at Rastafari. What is your  experience of Rasta, and why does it interest you as an area for research?

There are numerous websites here at, which I suggest you explore as well.


Title: Re: Anthropological research on Rastafari
Post by: Tian on September 11, 2003, 10:00:34 AM
My perspective on Rastafari is that it is a cultural liberation movement, which is fighting to liberate primarily Africans in the American diaspora from Western colonialism and imperialism.

Following theorists like Edward Said and Frantz Fanon, I understand Western imperialism as not only political and economic, but on the cultural, spiritual and mental levels as well. It is my impression that the Rastafari movement is fighting imperialism primarily in the cultural realm, e.g. "mental slavery".

On a personal level, my interest for Rastafari springs out of political activism, in part. I support Rastafari's struggle against Western imperialism and oppression of Africans, and that is one reason I want to learn more about how these issues are conceptualized within the movement.

I am looking forward to getting some comments on this.......


Title: Re: Anthropological research on Rastafari
Post by: Tian on September 18, 2003, 09:19:23 AM
Hello again,

I checked out Trinicenter's websites. A lot of interesting and informative reading.

As to my experience with Rastafari: Most Rastas I have met, both in Europe and while travelling in East Africa and Central America, have been reggae musicians, who often had the outer appearances of Rasta (dreadlocks, African colors, ganja etc.) and identify with the lyrics of Bob Marley, but do not have a deeper understanding of Rastafari. The places I have been, it hasn't been easy to find conscious Rastas...

On this board, I have the impression that people are much more 'intellectual', many have studied politics, history, religion and are more 'conscious' than other Rasta I have met. This is one reason that led me to do research here, because I am  interested in seeing Rastafari in relation to other black movements.

I have not had the chance of going to Jamaica, Trinidad or other Caribbean islands yet, so I do not know the situation there other than what I have read and heard, which is often quite contradictory. If anyone can fill me in here, I would be happy....