Public Event with Campbell X and Rochelle Rowe

No where no betta dan yard?

Negotiating Jamaican Identities and Sexualities between Jamaica and the Diaspora


Date: Wednesday January 30, 2013
Start: 6.30 pm
Location: Heidelberg University, ehemaliger Senatsaal, 2. OG, Grabengasse 3-5 (Neue

Jamaican popular culture and literature are key sites for the representation and dissemination of Jamaican cultural identity, being located at the intersection of raceclassgender and sexuality. These identity concepts not only transmit a national self-confidence, which we find embodied in the international success of Jamaican athletes and artists, or expressed in the Jamaican proverb “we likkle but we tallawah”. They also need to be read as an empowerment of the young nation’s citizens, who were celebrating their 50th anniversary of independence from Great Britain in 2012, but who are still struggling with the disastrous consequences of colonialism and neoliberal capitalism. Colonial discourses, hegemonies and related power structures on the one hand, and, on the other, subversive popular cultural and literary practices are thus parts of Jamaican cultural identity.

Migration between Jamaica, North America and Great Britain, especially since the second half of the 20th century, has contributed to a seeming dissolution of traditional static concepts of the nation-state and national identity. Along with that constituent elements of Jamaican cultural identity are subject to ongoing transformation, which are now increasingly negotiated between the Caribbean home and the diaspora in North America.

In the workshop, film director Campbell X (London) and historian Rochelle Rowe (Berlin) will be discussing ideas on how collective identities have been constructed and reinforced since Jamaica’s state formation in 1962. Furthermore, they will explore how beauty contests, film and popular cultural practices have (at times) challenged existing power relations and established alternative concepts. Here, the discussion will focus on the de-/construction of the elite hegemony of the “creole multi-racial state”, which is based on, e.g., heteronormativity, racialized visions of femininity, and a nationalism that conforms to upper- and middle-class needs. Migration along with the related cultural, economic, and social exchange processes have not only destabilized these pillars, but also increased the autonomy of once marginalized groups such as the Black working class, women, homo-, bi-, inter-, and transsexuals.



Wiebke Beushausen and Patrick Helberg (Junior Research Group “From the Caribbean to North America and Back: Processes of Transculturation in Literature, Popular Culture and the New Media”) 

Contact:    ,