Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
From September to May I host a weekly one-hour radio show called Riddim Come Fawaad: Solid Reggae Vibrations on CFBU 103.7FM. The show live-streams Wednesday nights at 9:00 and Saturday afternoons at 4:00.
Several of my research interests coalesce in a project that investigates how spatiality is theorised, communicated, and used as a tool of expression, in Jamaican reggae music. The term “spatiality” here refers to the socially-produced character of space, and the spatially-constituted nature of society and subjectivity. My intent is to examine reggae music as a way to learn about how poor Black Jamaicans conceptualise and articulate their socio-spatial circumstances, and indeed how they construct particular spatialities through music.
The research focuses on this group of people because of the global significance of their general spatial circumstances, especially their history of forced migration and diaspora, and their current subordinate position in a range of national and transnational economic, social and cultural flows. The group of whom, and to whom, reggae music speaks are exemplary of more general - if less extreme - conditions of diaspora, cultural hybridity, displacement, and “double consciousness,” which according to many scholars characterise the current period of globalisation. A detailed study of how this group understands, expresses and actively creates spatiality will contribute significantly to the geographical understanding of globalisation’s effects on how people understand the world, themselves, and their place in the world. This has the potential to inform policy debates regarding globalisation’s cultural implications.
Reggae is an especially appropriate resource for studying these issues, for four main reasons:
As the first detailed geographical examination of reggae music, this study contributes to music scholarship, and to the branch of geography concerned with the spatial attributes of music. It also contributes to current efforts within geography to develop a less visual - and more aural - means of conceiving spatiality. More generally, in tracing the contours of a specific mode of autoethnographic expression, this study will also contribute to the conceptualisation of identity under conditions of transcultural subordination.