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Sounds and Pressures: Music in the 1970s Caribbean
/ HIST 342
/ AFR 327
For the Caribbean the 1970s was a decade of cultural excitement and political tragedy. 1960s radical consciousness contributed to rapidly changing music styles that formed by the early seventies and blossomed on the world stage as the decade progressed. This was the period when Jamaican Reggae, Haitian Konpa, and Spanish Caribbean Salsa, asserted their presence in the mainstream. But the countries that birthed these popular music forms were locked in political crisis. In Jamaica, political violence escalated, Haiti faced a brutal dictatorship and Cuba was caught in the midst of Cold War strain. A common response to these challenges was massive emigration from the Caribbean to the United States. This course will examine the music produced in the 1970s Caribbean and its relationship to the forces of migration, national politics, and inter-regional contact. After a background on Cuban and Haitian music, the course will give greatest focus to Jamaican politics its relationship with Reggae, which reached further than any other Caribbean music form in the 1970s. It will explore the journeys of the music as it accompanied and oftentimes preceded the arrival of large numbers of Caribbean immigrants. In the process, the US imaginary of the Caribbean was reshaped by the popularization of Caribbean commercial music.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
class participation, 3-4 short papers (5-7 pages)
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit: