A BOOK LAUNCH AND CONVERSATION WITH 'H' PATTEN
What do Jamaican reggae/dancehall dance practices reveal about the lived experiences of Jamaican working-class culture? And how should we understand the relation between the individual dancing body and the cultural whole within which it moves?
In his important new book, Reading Religion and Spirituality in Jamaican Reggae Dancehall Dance (Routledge, 2022), former ISRF Fellow Dr ‘H’ Patten offers a critical reading of Jamaican reggae/dancehall practice and proposes to view reggae/dancehall as a crucial component of indigenous Jamaican popular culture.
He argues that dancehall, if approached critically, offers unique insight into the spiritual worldviews and everyday experiences of Jamaica’s lower-class Black African and neo-African peoples.
Centring what he terms the ‘corporeal dancing body,’ Patten argues that in dancehall dance practices the physical, emotional, spiritual, religious, and cultural all coincide, forming alternative histories that work to unsettle the references of otherness and difference that the white gaze has historically mapped onto Black bodies.
Patten presents an overview of his book, and is then be joined by two commentators: Michael McMillan, Associate Lecturer for Cultural and Historical Studies at London College of Fashion (UAL) and Editor of Sonic Vibrations (Writers Mosaic, 2021); and Lisa Palmer, Associate Professor and Interim Director of the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, De Montfort University, and co-editor (with Kehinde Andrews) of Blackness in Britain (Routledge, 2016).
This is the twenty-first in the ISRF’s series of Book Launches.