'Pedestrian crosses’: sites of dislocation in ‘post-colonial’ Jamaica
Navigating between cultural theory and literary criticism, the paper argues that the Creole/Anglophone Caribbean, a site of multiple crossings, is a gateway to understanding complex processes of subversion of imperial discourses. Focusing on the vernacular poetry of Jamaican cultural icon Louise Bennett, the paper celebrates the re/production of embodied theory that originates in the centres of consciousness of the historically dehumanised peoples of the Caribbean and which is continuously refined in the revisionist work of native intellectuals—both 'folk' and 'academic'—who are remapping the boundaries of 'Margin' and 'Centre'. The trope of the pedestrian crossing, as deployed by Louise Bennett, engenders a politics of dislocation in 'post-colonial' Jamaica that revalorises the language and philosophy of the marginalised African-Jamaican majority.
Keywords: popular culture; vernacular theory; pedestrian knowledge
Carolyn Cooper is Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. She is the author of Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the ‘Vulgar’ Body of Jamaican Popular Culture () and Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large (2004).