Visions of Ethiopia

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Great Huts Visions of Ethiopia

August 3 – 10, 2014

About Visions of Ethiopia

Join us for Visions of Ethiopia at Great Huts from August 3rd to 10th 2014, a fascinating series of lectures by renowned American anthropologist Jake Homiak on understanding the history, art and religion of Rastafari.

Come and relax in the lush tropical atmosphere of our eco-friendly resort and stay in one of our natural Afro-centric huts for a true timeless experience while you learn about the history and culture of Rastafari.

For only US$ 660 you get full accommodations for 8 days in our Down to Basics Huts (which may be upgraded to Safari Chic or Royalty Huts at an additional cost) with breakfast included.

The Programme

Dr Jake Homiak will be giving a set of interesting lectures at this event on Reasonings on Rastafari Art and Culture from International Rastafari Archives Project. Lectures begin at 6 PM DAILY.

Lecture 1: Picture on the Wall

Sunday, August 3rd

The Visual Roots of an Ethiopianist Theology. Presentation focuses on the first preacher of Rastafari doctrine, Leonard P. Howell, who circulated post-card sized images of the young Ethiopian nobleman RasTafariMakonnen following his coronation as Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1930. Discussion on how these images served as a basis for validating biblical prophecy and as the formation for Rastafari art. Attention is given to both what images/art mean as well as what they ‘do’ within the Rastafari community.

Lecture 2: Kumina, Revival and Buru

Monday, August 4th

The Roots of Rastafari Drumming and Music. Presentation focuses on how various African Jamaican musical traditions were synthesized in the shanty towns of Kingston during the 1940 and 1950s to create the drumming style known as Nyahbinghi. The religious role of this music is explored as well as its linkages to the anthems of reggae that were popularized during the 1970s.

Lecture 3: Groundings with My Brethren

Tuesday, August 5th

‘Linguistic Lattitudes’ and Verbal Arts in Rastafari. Presentation focuses on the nature of ‘reasoning’ as a primary ritual activity among the Rastafari with attention to the Rasta concept of word-sound-and-power and the sacramental use of cannabis. Reasoning as the process through which brethren coin ideology, pray, and establish their stature as ‘men-of-words’ is explored.

Lecture 4: Ethiopian Ethnogenesis: From Back ‘o Wall to Pallisadoes

Wednesday, August 6th

Presentation focuses on the creation of a Rastafari ethnicity which became associated with the practice of wearing and growing dreadlocks during the camp-and-yard period of the movement’s development in West Kingston. The iconic symbol of the dreadlocks, once scorned, was validated during the state visit of Emperor Haile Selassie himself to Jamaica in 1966. Events and pronouncement by the Emperor during that visit (including the fact that he awarded 13 gold medals to leading Rastafari) are discussed in term so how they served to promote the Ethopianist identity of the faithful.

Lecture 5: The ‘Temple of Jah’: Livity and Body Rituals in Rastafari

Thursday, August 7th

Presentation focuses on the various aspects of Rastafari livity (e.g., foodways, cultural and spiritual hygene, the wearing of locks, and their sacramental practices around “the herb” (ganja). Attention is also given to the “many mansions” within the movement and their variations of spiritual and cultural practice.

Lecture 6: Global Perspectives on Rastafari

Friday, August 8th

Multiple Realities in Diaspora and on the Continent. Presentation focuses on the global reach of Rastafari—not merely via reggae music and popular culture—but as a ‘traveling culture.’ Attention is given to the ways in which Rastafari, where ever it gains a foothold, adapts itself to local conditions and associated African cultural influences.

Lectures 7 & 8

Saturday and Sunday, August 9th & 10th

Dr Jahlani of UWI will be giving another 2 surprise lectures on the last days of the event. Keep an eye on this page to see the updates on these last lectures.

About Dr Jake Homiak

Jake (John) Homiak is a cultural anthropologist who has worked among Rastafari communities in the English-speaking world for the past 34 years. He received his doctorate from Brandeis University following a year of ethnographic fieldwork in Jamaica (1980-81).

During this initial research Homiak’s work focused on the nature of leadership within two oldest Rastafari ‘mansions’ in the island: The Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress (also known as the Boboshanti) and the Order of the Nyahbinghi.

For the next three decades Homiak has continued to make research visits to Jamaica and to document the emergence of Rastafari as a ‘traveling culture’ that has internationalized the ‘rootical’ practices of the movement. This includes his work in enabling delegations of Rasta Elders to travel to North America and Panama as well as research work across the Eastern Caribbean, South Africa, Ethiopia and various parts of North America.

During his extensive work in JamiacaHomiak has also worked with the practitioners of other African-Jamaican traditions include Ettu, Maroons, Revival and Kumina—the latter being closely linked with the formation of the early Rastafari movement.

In 2004 Dr. Homiak and Dr. Carole Yawney (his late research partner) empaneled a 17-member international Rastafari Advisory Committee at the Smithsonian Institution to initiate the planning of a exhibition on the origins and global spread of Rastafari. This led to the opening of “Discovering Rastafari, an extremely popular exhibition that was mounted in the African Voices Hall of the National Museum of Natural History which had a four year run from 2007 to 2011.

Jake is married to Amy J. Staples and has two daughters, Jill and Erin Homiak, twins born on the anniversary of Marcus Garvey’s birthday.

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