Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Mitchell, Mary N.

Second Advisor

Atkinson, Connie

Third Advisor

Cassimere, Raphael


The story of Jamaican music is also one of the island's journey from independence, the rise of nationalism and changes in its political structure in the Cold War era. Reggae as a popular form, developed in the context of Jamaica's history of colonialism and slavery, as well as the island's development as an independent nation within the African Diaspora. Michael Manley's policy of democratic socialism leading to U.S. intervention to destabilize his government in the mid-1970s and the installation of the pro-American Edward Seaga, in 1980, led to considerable changes in Jamaican political culture and nationalism. Inextricable from changes in the nation's political culture, however, were changes in its popular culture, namely, the transition in popular music from reggae to what became known as "dancehall." The history of reggae and the rise of dancehall in the period from 1974 to 1984 this thesis argues, was integral to the transformation of Jamaican nationalism and politics in the decades following independence.


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