Congratulations to Michele Johnson on the publication of "They do as they please: The Jamaican Struggle for Cultural Freedom after Morant Bay"

Department of History congratulates Michele Johnson most warmly on the publication of "They do as as they please": The Jamaican Struggle for Cultural Freedom after Morant Bay, a book she has co-authored with Brian L. Moore, Professor of History and Africana and Latin American Studies at Colgage University. The book (580 pp.) was published by the University of the West Indies Press, Jamaica, in February 2011.

There will be a book launch of this volume at Áccents on Eglinton Bookstore, 1790 Eglinton Ave. West, on THURSDAY 5 MAY at 8.00 p.m. as part of the events of the Canadian Association of African Studies Annual Meeting, which is being held at York from 5-7 May.

Here is a brief description of the volume:

The book examines the secular aspects of culture in Jamaica, namely, material culture (architecture and home furnishings, dress, and food), rites of passage, language and oral culture, creative and performance arts, popular entertainment, sports and games, social clubs and fraternities, and the issues of drinking and gambling. It also examines the lifestyle cultures of Indian and Chinese immigrants who were new arrivals in Jamaica. The book argues that although a vibrant and fully functional creole culture existed in Jamaica, after Morant Bay diverse elements within the upper and middle classes (the cultural elites) formed a coalition to eradicate that "barbaric" culture which they believed had contributed to the uprising, and to replace it with "superior" cultural items imported from Victorian Britain in order to "civilize" and anglicize the people. It reinforces the thesis that the lower classes, the main targets of the campaign, drew on their own Afro-Creole cultural heritage to resist and ignore the new elite cultural agenda; but they did selectively embrace some aspects of the imported Victorian culture which they creolized to fit their own cultural matrix. Ultimately, the cultural elite efforts at "reform" were hampered by their own ambivalence, hypocrisy and disunity, and they actually impeded the sponsored process of anglicization. The book advances our understanding of the concepts and process of creolization. It extends the pioneering work of Kamau Brathwaite and reassesses the theories of other scholars, particularly Richard Burton and Nigel Bolland.

I've attached the Table of Contents. Further details on the University of the West Indies Press website:

On behalf of the Department, Michele, many congratulations!