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(Re)Producing Cultural Idenitity in the Space of Death

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041826/00001

Material Information

Title: (Re)Producing Cultural Idenitity in the Space of Death Jamaican Nine Night in Dennis Scott's & #34;An Echo In The Bone & #34;
Physical Description: 1 online resource (51 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Small, Zahir
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: african, bone, cultural, culture, death, dennis, echo, fanon, folk, holland, identity, jamaica, kumina, national, night, nine, pocomania, rituals, scott, slavery, small, space, wake
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: English thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Nine Night is a wake ritual that thrives among the Jamaican folk. It derives from wake rituals that were developed by enslaved Jamaicans. Jamaicans (re)produce cultural identity through Nine Night. The first part of this thesis investigates the development of Nine Night from slave wake rituals and demonstrates how the cultural (re)production of this ceremony has allowed enslaved, postemancipation, and postcolonial Jamaican blacks to negotiate subjectivity and resist Eurocentric historical and cultural hegemony. Sharon Patricia Holland s theoretical concept of the space of death will be used to demonstrate how Jamaican folk are linked through their disenfranchisement and social and economic marginalization. As a space of resistance and communal celebration, Nine Night empowers these poor blacks, allows them to pay homage to deceased kin and connect with their ancestors. The concept of Nine Night is based on an imagined magical superstructure that includes Christian and African elements and participants in the ceremony endeavor to satisfy the spirit of the departed. Nine Night enables poor Jamaicans to negotiate subjectivity by re-membering a fractured past, resisting cultural hegemony, and engaging in communal healing. The second part of this thesis features a close reading of Scott s play An Echo in the Bone through which I aim to explore the (re)production of Nine Night in the postemancipation and postcolonial contexts. Emphasizing how the space of death is inhabited by blacks from different time periods is integral to the understanding of Scott s play where Nine Night enables the black subjects to (re)produce a cultural identity. Scott s use of Nine Night in his innovative theatrical production demonstrates how the ceremony is emblematic of a Jamaican national culture. While many scholars have demonstrated the cultural significance of Scott s play, I intend to explore the important historical, economic and political critiques provided by the play.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Zahir Small.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Rosenberg, Leah R.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2011-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041826:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041826/00001

Material Information

Title: (Re)Producing Cultural Idenitity in the Space of Death Jamaican Nine Night in Dennis Scott's & #34;An Echo In The Bone & #34;
Physical Description: 1 online resource (51 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Small, Zahir
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: african, bone, cultural, culture, death, dennis, echo, fanon, folk, holland, identity, jamaica, kumina, national, night, nine, pocomania, rituals, scott, slavery, small, space, wake
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: English thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Nine Night is a wake ritual that thrives among the Jamaican folk. It derives from wake rituals that were developed by enslaved Jamaicans. Jamaicans (re)produce cultural identity through Nine Night. The first part of this thesis investigates the development of Nine Night from slave wake rituals and demonstrates how the cultural (re)production of this ceremony has allowed enslaved, postemancipation, and postcolonial Jamaican blacks to negotiate subjectivity and resist Eurocentric historical and cultural hegemony. Sharon Patricia Holland s theoretical concept of the space of death will be used to demonstrate how Jamaican folk are linked through their disenfranchisement and social and economic marginalization. As a space of resistance and communal celebration, Nine Night empowers these poor blacks, allows them to pay homage to deceased kin and connect with their ancestors. The concept of Nine Night is based on an imagined magical superstructure that includes Christian and African elements and participants in the ceremony endeavor to satisfy the spirit of the departed. Nine Night enables poor Jamaicans to negotiate subjectivity by re-membering a fractured past, resisting cultural hegemony, and engaging in communal healing. The second part of this thesis features a close reading of Scott s play An Echo in the Bone through which I aim to explore the (re)production of Nine Night in the postemancipation and postcolonial contexts. Emphasizing how the space of death is inhabited by blacks from different time periods is integral to the understanding of Scott s play where Nine Night enables the black subjects to (re)produce a cultural identity. Scott s use of Nine Night in his innovative theatrical production demonstrates how the ceremony is emblematic of a Jamaican national culture. While many scholars have demonstrated the cultural significance of Scott s play, I intend to explore the important historical, economic and political critiques provided by the play.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Zahir Small.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Rosenberg, Leah R.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2011-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041826:00001


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(RE)PRODUCING CULTURAL IDENTITY IN THE SPACE OF DEATH: JAMAICAN
NINE NIGHT IN DENNIS SCOTT'S AN ECHO IN THE BONE




















By

ZAHIR SMALL


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2010

































2010 Zahir Small



























To Granny Sida









ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I thank the chair of my committee for her guidance and support. I thank my reader

for her assistance with this project. I thank the members of the department as well as

my colleagues for their advice. A special thanks to my family and friends for their

motivation and encouragement.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C KNO W LEDG EM ENTS ........ .. ......................................................... ............... 4

ABSTRACT ............... ................................... ....... ..... ....... ......... 6

CHAPTER

1 RESISTANCE AND DEATH IN NINE NIGHT ........ ......................... ............... 8
In tro d u c tio n ............. ......... .. .. ......... ................................................................... 8
Nine Night and the Space of Death ......................................... ................. ...... 10
Slave W ake Rituals in Jamaica................................................ .................... 12
Magical Superstructure and Moral Order: The Cosmology of Jamaican Folk......... 15
Re-Traditionalizing W ake Rituals as Nine Night ................ ............. ............... 19

2 (RE)PRODUCING JAMAICAN CULTURAL IDENTITY THROUGH NINE NIGHT
IN DENNIS SCOTT'S AN ECHO IN THE BONE................................. ................ 24
An Echo in the Bone: Nine Night as Jamaican National Culture........................... 24
Restoring Moral Order by Re-Membering Crew ............................................... .. 27
Revivals and Re-Traditionalization: Religious Elements in Scott's Play................. 30
The 'Poverty of Blackness': (Im)Material Ontology and Black Subjectivity............ 32
Dennis Scott's (Re)Production of Postcolonial Jamaican Theatre....................... 44
Conclusion ........................... ...... ........ .. .................. 46

LIST OF REFERENCES ......... ......... ......... .... ................ ............... 48

B IO G RA PH ICA L S KETC H ........ ................. ....... ................................... ............... 51









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Master of Arts

(RE)PRODUCING CULTURAL IDENTITY IN THE SPACE OF DEATH: JAMAICAN
NINE NIGHT IN DENNIS SCOTT'S AN ECHO IN THE BONE
By

Zahir Small

August 2010

Chair: Leah Rosenberg
Major: English

Nine Night is a wake ritual that thrives among the Jamaican folk. It derives from

wake rituals that were developed by enslaved Jamaicans. Jamaicans (re)produce

cultural identity through Nine Night. The first part of this thesis investigates the

development of Nine Night from slave wake rituals and demonstrates how the cultural

reproductionn of this ceremony has allowed enslaved, postemancipation, and

postcolonial Jamaican blacks to negotiate subjectivity and resist Eurocentric historical

and cultural hegemony. Sharon Patricia Holland's theoretical concept of the space of

death will be used to demonstrate how Jamaican folk are linked through their

disenfranchisement and social and economic marginalization. As a space of resistance

and communal celebration, Nine Night empowers these poor blacks, allows them to pay

homage to deceased kin and connect with their ancestors. The concept of Nine Night is

based on an imagined magical superstructure that includes Christian and African

elements and participants in the ceremony endeavor to satisfy the spirit of the departed.

Nine Night enables poor Jamaicans to negotiate subjectivity by re-membering a

fractured past, resisting cultural hegemony, and engaging in communal healing.









The second part of this thesis features a close reading of Scott's play An Echo in

the Bone through which I aim to explore the reproductionn of Nine Night in the

postemancipation and postcolonial contexts. Emphasizing how the space of death is

inhabited by blacks from different time periods is integral to the understanding of Scott's

play where Nine Night enables the black subjects to (re)produce a cultural identity.

Scott's use of Nine Night in his innovative theatrical production demonstrates how the

ceremony is emblematic of a Jamaican national culture. While many scholars have

demonstrated the cultural significance of Scott's play, I intend to explore the important

historical, economic and political critiques provided by the play.









CHAPTER 1
RESISTANCE AND DEATH IN NINE NIGHT

Introduction

"Don't call me tonight, child. I have business. If you want me, find me.
Tonight I belong to the dead." Dennis Scott

In Jamaica, wake rituals were created by the black slaves and this cultural practice

continues to thrive in the country1. Revivalist cults that developed during the

postemanicaption incorporated wake rituals as part of their organized belief systems

and the rituals became known as Nine Night ceremonies. After someone died,

ceremonies were held for nine days and the Nine Night ceremony marked the ninth day

when it was believed that the spirit would transcend the world of the living. Today, the

ceremonies are now commonly referred to as dead yard, set-up, or singing night. In

December 2006, I attended two ceremonies in a small, rural community of Gimme-Bit

which is located in the parish of Clarendon, Jamaica. The two ceremonies I attended

were held for my grandmother and the family planned two ceremonies in order to pay

homage to both the black and Indian heritages of Jamaica. Clarendon has a small

Indo-Jamaican population many of whom reappropriate the Nine Night ceremony to

include Indian cultural elements. Both ceremonies featured live bands, libations,

games, dancing, storytelling, and general socializing. In other rural villages, the

ceremony is performed as traditional Revivalist ceremonies that include Kumina or

Pocomania rituals. Despite the differences in how the ceremony is conducted, as noted

in the epigraph from Dennis Scott's An Echo in the Bone, "belong[ing] to the dead" in

the space of Nine Night is serious "business" for Jamaicans.

1 Ethnographer Huon Wardle who conducted extensive studies of contemporary Nine Night ceremonies
argues that "night celebration of death has existed since at least the eighteenth century in Jamaica" (159)
and today, in some Jamaican communities, residents regularly attend ceremonies (173).









The first aim of this project is to investigate the development of Nine Night from

slave wake rituals and demonstrate how the cultural reproductionn of this ceremony has

allowed enslaved, postemancipation, and postcolonial Jamaican blacks to negotiate

subjectivity and resist Eurocentric historical and cultural hegemony2. Jamaica's

economic and sociopolitical conditions are informedd by colonialism and, as a result,

peasant black laborers continue to be socially marginalized and economically

disenfranchised. As a space of resistance and communal celebration, Nine Night

empowers these poor blacks, allows them to pay homage to deceased kin and connect

with their ancestors. In order to demonstrate how there is a close relationship between

death and black subjectivity in the United States, Sharon Patricia Holland

conceptualizes the "space of death." The concept of the "space of death" explains how

peasants, who are marginalized by society and denied equal access to resources of the

nation, develop an intimacy with death and form close relationship with ancestors and

these bonds function as a means of healing and establishing agency. This theoretical

device provides a way to understand how the material condition of disenfranchised

Jamaicans, who inhabit the "space of death," is linked to wake rituals such as Nine

Night. Through ancestral worship, the disenfranchised blacks re-member a fragmented

past and (re)produce cultural identity.

The second part of this thesis features a close reading of Scott's play An Echo in

the Bone through which I aim to explore the reproductionn of Nine Night in the

postemancipation and postcolonial contexts. Produced in 1974, Scott's play belongs to

a tradition of Jamaican literature that features indigenous folk practices such as Nine


2 For this project, I use the term postcolonial to refer to the time period after political independence.









Night and attempts to write subaltern colonial and postcolonial experiences in Jamaica3

By presenting a serious representation of religious cultural practices, Scott's play

"ushered in a new development in Caribbean theatre" (Balme 45). Scott's play

exemplifies Frantz Fanon's conceptualization of national culture as a dynamic

phenomenon that is vital to the existence of a group of people:

National culture is no folklore... [it] is the collective thought process of a
people to describe, justify, and extol the actions whereby they have joined
forces and remained strong. National culture in the underdeveloped
country, therefore, must lie at the very heart of the liberation struggle these
countries are waging. (168)

By defining culture as a "liberation struggle", Fanon shifts focus from the abstract

cultural analytics of native intellectuals who are engaged with anticolonial

projects. Through his engagement with class critiques, Fanon calls for an

evaluation of the colonial and postcolonial nation that takes into account the

material condition of the people. In the play, Scott demonstrates that Nine Night

was an important practice for the postemancipated and postcolonial

disenfranchised blacks who continue to inhabit the space of death through

economic marginalization. As emblematic of Jamaica's national culture, Nine

Night allows the working poor to "extol the actions whereby they have joined

forces and remained strong." In moving towards liberation, poor Jamaicans

engage in communal healing and resist cultural hegemony.

Nine Night and the Space of Death

The practice of the Nine Night ceremony demonstrates that black subjects have

retained an intimacy with death. The conception of the space of death is not only


3 Among the most preeminent authors to use folk rituals is Erna Brodber whose novels
Louisiana and Myal provide extensive insight into the sacral practices of Jamaican folk culture.









relevant because the Nine Night is a wake ritual, but is also useful in describing the

ontological and material condition of the postemancipated and postcolonial peasants.

Using Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities4 and his concepts of nation

formation as a theoretical basis, Holland's thesis is that "[black subjects] presence in

society is, like the subject of death, almost unspeakable, so black subjects share the

space the dead inhabit a full embrace of the concept of death" (4). She argues that

the slavery 'imaginings' are still present in American society resulting in the

marginalization of blacks into the "space of death" (6). She questions: "If black subjects

are held in such isolation first by a system of slavery and second by its imaginative

replacement then is not their relationship with the dead, those lodged in terms like

ancestors or heritage, more intimate than historians and critics have heretofore

articulated?" (15). Holland's theoretical palimpsest can be used to describe the

subjectivity of disenfranchised blacks in Jamaica. The Nine Night ceremony is one way

in which Jamaican folk reconnect with their ancestors and the performance of this ritual

is representative of a heritage of celebratory death rituals created by their enslaved

ancestors. The wake ritual indicates the intimacy with death for black peasants in

Jamaica.

The slave-like conditions that Holland claims are present in America are also

present in Jamaica. In Jamaica, the "imaginative replacementss" of slavery can include

the imperial oppression of black subjects who, for the most part, remain economically

4 Anderson critiques the idea of nationalism as the author wonders why people are willing to die
for what he considers a "limited imagining" such as "the nation" (7). Of particular interest is his
assessment of the tomb of the unknown soldier. Anderson concludes that "the cultural roots of
nationalism [is associated] with death" and that, as the worship of the tomb reveals, nationalism
shares an "affinity with religious imaginings" (10). Despite the politics of Anderson's critiques,
his revelations about how the concepts of death and religion aid in the construction of imagined
communities prove important for Holland's project and mine as well.









impoverished and entrapped in peasant labor systems. Postemancipated and

postcolonial Jamaican black subjects were/are disenfranchised because of their

isolation from the material resources of the nation. Additionally, neo-colonial and

imperialist sociopolitical structures that continue to promote Eurocentrism contribute to

the social marginalization of black subjects. For Holland, the paradigm of

marginalization of black subjects does not account for their "day-to-day living" which

include their material disenfranchisement (17). She contends that the concept of

"marginalization" developed by academics may "empower" black subjects "on paper"

but does not adequately explain their "literal existence" (16-17).

As a result, Holland embraces the concept of the "space of death" which serves as

the space where a theoretical 'living-dead' black community form and negotiate

subjectivity despite their lack of material wealth. She develops her concept of the space

of death from anthropologist Michael Taussig who writes: "The space of death is

important in the creation of meaning and consciousness, nowhere more so than in

societies where torture is endemic and where has the culture of terror flourished" (qtd

Holland 4). Thus, despite being regulated to the "space of death", individuals can

exhibit ontological agency by creating subjective "meaning and consciousness." Like

their enslaved ancestors, postemanicpated and postcolonial Jamaican blacks occupy

the space of death where "meaning and consciousness" is created in the formation of

their cultural identity through rituals such as Nine Night. This formation of cultural

identity is libratory and empowering for the socially marginalized Jamaicans.

Slave Wake Rituals in Jamaica

Slaves and peasant laborers in Jamaica formed 'imagined communities' through

expression of a distinct vernacular culture which was created with African and European









religious, linguistic and musical elements and is represented in the Nine Night

ceremony5. These communities were imagined through formed kinship with other

slaves and ancestors and the creation of an indigenous folk culture. From the

perspective of the colonizer, the black slaves were commodity objects which, in many

respects, rendered them dead. Exploring the concept of death within the institution of

slavery, Orlando Patterson asserts that since they were powerless and alienated from

social laws and customs, slaves suffered "social death" (5). Patterson's concept of

"social death" is important in demonstrating how since slaves were pushed to the

margins of society, they experienced a type of death.

In occupying this space of death, the black slaves of Jamaica developed an

intimacy with death and this intimacy facilitated resistance6. Vincent Brown argues that

in response to the colonial authority's effort to instill discipline on slaves and suppress

rebellion through "terrifying spectacles" that included public display of mutilated bodies,

"the enslaved [Jamaicans] established [counter] discourses of authority by invoking

spirits of the dead" as the spectacles became routine (24). The slaves resisted

complete objectification by performing sacral practices, involving the dead, which

included ancestral worship, spirit possession and wake rituals. Historian Mary Turner


5 Olive Lewin's Rock It Come Over: The Folk Music of Jamaica provides extensive research into
the folk music of Jamaica from the work songs of the slaves, secular and spiritual music. She
provides primary sources such as anecdotes and lyrics to traditional folk music accompanied by
an explanation of their historical basis and cultural significance. Lewin makes the claim that the
climate of Jamaica might have helped the African slaves "re-establish vital links with [their
African forebears] and give succeeding generations the opportunity to experience a measure of
cultural continuity" (24). This "cultural continuity" was also made possible through the greed of
slaveholders who, for example, allowed slaves to sing songs in order to foster a 'productive'
work environment. Chants and songs in Jamaican folk language enabled the slaves to
communicate, codify their communication, and even mock the overseers (Lewin 56).
6 In his performance theories, Fred Moten argues that resistance is integral to black
performance. According to Moten: "The history of blackness is testament to the fact that objects
can and do resist" (1).









also argues that ancestral worship empowered Jamaican slaves and allowed some

degree of resistance against the brutalization of colonial slavery:

Access to supernatural powers, however, was crucial to the slaves' survival
amid the terrors generated by forced migration and the barbarities of
plantation discipline. The beliefs they formulated, utilizing concepts
embedded in their consciousness formed in their African homelands,
reordered their universe, regulated their village communities, and
empowered their overt and covert resistance to slave labor systems. (28)

Turner also notes that the "burial places" were designated as "family shrines and they

became a "source of spiritual power" for the slaves (28). Slaves performed wake rituals

and conducted elaborate burial ceremonies at the graveside of their deceased

ancestors. The intimacy with death is evidenced through these rituals.

Thus, wake rituals were important cultural practices that were essential to slave

ontology. Therefore, even though the slaves were socially dead as Patterson contends,

they were able to resist complete ontological death and negotiate subjectivity through

kinship formation. Patterson asserts that the slaves did have "informal social

relations... among themselves" despite the fact that their "relationships were never

recognized as legitimate or binding" by the colonial authority (6). Under the

sociopolitical system of the colonial authority, slaves only existed through their masters.

However, slaves subverted this master/slave dialectic by establishing kinship

relationships and performing wake rituals.

Patterson explicitly cites wake rituals as helping to facilitate and maintain the

"informal social relations" that took place among the slaves in Jamaica (198). Even

within Patterson's concept of social death, he notes that funerary ceremonies conducted

by slaves were based on the West African belief that they would be reunited with dead

ancestors (198). The Jamaican folk culture of the slaves included the wake rituals









derived from West African belief systems. The development of an indigenous folk

culture that resisted European dominant culture enabled the slaves to resist "spiritual

thievery" which June Roberts defines as "colonial domination through the subtle erosion

of native interiority by cultural imperialism" (160) The wake rituals were emblematic of

the "native interiority" of black slaves in Jamaica who sought to form and preserve an

African ancestral lineage. The dislocated slaves negotiated subjectivity through these

wake rituals by re-membering the African ancestry that the colonial project attempted to

eradicate. In death, slaves imagined that they would return "home" to be with their

African ancestors.

Magical Superstructure and Moral Order: The Cosmology of Jamaican Folk

The re-membered spiritual ancestors became part of an imagined universal

cosmology: "The religions of West Africa brought a cosmology in which a multiplicity of

spiritual forces, including the ancestral living-dead, pervaded and defined the world"

(Austin-Broos 6). In Jamaica, this cosmology which was constituted of spirits and

duppies is an example of folk cultural mythmaking and is related to Fanon's concept of

the "magical superstructure." Fanon indicates that "the colonized subject draws on

terrifying myths that are so prolific in underdeveloped societies as inhibitions for his

aggressiveness [such as] malevolent spirits who emerge every time you put one foot

wrong" (18). The magical and supernatural can be observed in dance and possession

rituals (Fanon 20). The black Jamaican slaves communicated and interacted with the

spirits and duppies during spirit possession, which were integral components of wake

rituals.

7 June Roberts notes that spirit thievery is thwarted through the "elevating [of] African spiritism".
This is the theoretical basis for her analysis of the sacral aspects of Jamaican folk culture used
in Erna Borderer's novels.









For Fanon, folk rituals allowed the colonized a space where they could let out the

pent up violence instigated by colonial brutality. Even though Fanon doubts these

rituals can be effective in the struggle for liberation (19), he acknowledges that creating

these folk myths were important to coping with the brutality of colonialism and that these

'imagined' myths, for the colonized, become "terrifying[ly]" real:

In scaring me, the atmosphere of myths and magic operates like an undeniable
reality. In terrifying me, it incorporates me into the traditions and history of my land
and ethnic group, but at the same time I am reassured and granted a civil status,
an identification. The secret sphere in underdeveloped countries is a collective
sphere that falls exclusively within the realm of magic. (18) 8

The creation of a "magical superstructure" that includes the "myths and magic" enables

the formation of a cultural identity and in-form subjective negotiation by the

disenfranchised people. According to Fanon's psychoanalytic, the magical

superstructure developed by the colonized in the colonial setting is characteristic of a

"colonized affectivity" which was a neurotic dis-ease diagnosed by Fanon (18). By

allowing the slaves to express their 'affectivity', cultural resistance was cultivated

through these rituals9. For the slaves, cultural practices such as wake rituals created

community, negotiated subjectivity, and healed the physic violence inflicted on them by

the brutal colonial slave system.

As a foundational Jamaican reproductionn of cultural identity, subjective

negotiation became integrated into some of the earliest organized belief systems


8 This concept of the "secret sphere" relates to Partha Chatterjee's identification of an inner
domain of 'spirituality' developed by native people that contrasts to the outer material domain
dominated by the colonial authority. He develops this concept of inner/outer domain to describe
the culture of anticolonial nationalisms.
9 Writing about the value of culture for resistance, Amilcar Cabral says: "The value of culture as
an element of resistance to foreign domination lies in the fact that culture is the vigorous
manifestation of the ideological plane of the physical and historical reality of the society that is
dominated or to be dominated." It was the creolized cultural practices of the slaves and the
religious belief systems that developed which enabled resistance.









created by black Jamaican slaves: Myalism and Obeah. Myalism "was centered around

community rituals including spirit possession and Myal dance, which honored the

African-derived minor spirit deities... and the departed ancestors" (Besson & Chevannes

212). Myalism held that in death, the duppy or spirit left the body and "journey[ed] to

join the ancestors" (Besson & Chevannes 212). An "elaborate mortuary ritual" took

place to mark the transition of the duppy (Besson & Chevannes 212). Obeah was

similar to Myalism, but was based on sorcery and was essentially an individualized

process. After violent slave rebellions were instigated by spiritual practices such as

Myalism and Obeah, slave codes or "obeah laws" were enacted that limited burial

practices, banned informal gatherings, and required planters to teach slaves Christianity

(Turner 27). This resulted in the spread of colonial missionary efforts which sought to

civilize and Christianize the blacks, elements of this African belief system were

combined with Christianity and this led to the development of Black Baptists and the

revivalist cults that 'created' Nine Night. According to the Encyclopedia of slave

resistance and rebellion, some social activities of these Africanized belief systems such

as "oaths, dancing, spirit possession" became incorporated into Afro-Christian "folk

religions" such as "Revival, Revival Zion, Pocomania, and Rastafari" (Rodriguez 356).

Revivalist cults were 'creolized' indigenous religions that included Christian and African

elements.

While Myalism was the foundation for funerary rituals, the revivalist cults such as

Zion revival and Pocomania are credited with 'inventing' the tradition of Nine Night.

Because of missionary efforts and the creation of creole religious systems, an intricate

system of "moral politics" developed in Jamaica. The revival movements that included









Pocomania and Kumina spread mostly among peasant blacks and were repudiated by

affluent, Christian Jamaicans who accepted Eurocentric values and saw "... Revivalists

[as] merely an echo of the [colonizing] missionaries' 'African immoralist'" (Austin Broos

11). The missionary's "practice of ethical rationalism... repudiated the world of play and

its carnivalesque aesthetic, it also sought to stifle in Jamaica an intense eudemonic of

freedom which both transformed and re-embodied an African sense of joy in the world"

for the emancipated blacks (Austin Broos 42). The 'eudemonic' West-African and

Jamaican practices that developed (such as Nine Night) combined Christian and African

elements, but they would also conflict with the structure of the European religion (Austin

Broos 42). Diane Austin Broos defines the eudemonic as a state of content autonomy

and "an aesthetical experience that... echoes an ontology, West African-become-

Jamaican, that is antipathetic to a Protestant Christian world" (249). Postemanicapted

blacks were free to express their eudemonic sense of 'being' which included communal

worshipping events such as Nine Night.

The spread of missionaries in Jamaica also resulted in a re-imagining of the

magical superstructure. While Myalism featured African deity and ancestral worship,

revivalist cults and black Christians retraditionalized the Christian and African belief

systems10. The spiritual world imagined by the Jamaicans became inhabited by biblical

figures. George Eaton Simpson indicates that, for Jamaicans, the spiritual world was

inhabited not only by their African ancestors or deities, but by "Old Testament prophets,


10 Early scholars defined revival cults as syncretic mixtures between European (Christian) and
African belief systems. However, Donaldson indicates that "retraditionalization offers a more
productive framework than syncretism or postcolonial hybridity for thinking about the encounter
of Natives and Christians" (40). While Donaldson developed this term to describe Native
American practices, I want to reappropriate the term to describe Christian components included
in Nine Night ceremonies.









New Testament saints, other Biblical figures, and the dead" (329). Integrating Christian

spirits into their spiritual world is an attempt at 'retraditionalization' of the Christian

religion by Jamaicans. While affluent Jamaicans tended to privilege European Christian

traditions, the impoverished black "wretched of the earth" tended to resist the

Eurocentric traditions of the dominant class and (re)produce the rituals created by their

ancestors. As a result, Nine Night ceremonies are spaces where a retraditionalization

of Christianity occurs. Austin Broos writes that: "Christianity becomes Jamaican while

bearing as part of its Jamaicanness ranked folk renderings of its origins and its

attendant meanings of power" (5).

Re-Traditionalizing Wake Rituals as Nine Night

The ceremonial aspect of the Nine Night correlates with the Christian "moral

discipline" while the celebratory aspects which consists of singing songs, eating,

drinking, socializing, and storytelling correlate to the "eudemonic present" or West

African worldview (Austin Broos 7). In most ceremonies, bibles verses are recited,

prayers are said, and 'sankeys' or hymns are sang. Nine Night represents a

reproductionn of Jamaican cultural identity and this makes it a compelling example of

Stuart Hall's concept of cultural identity. Building off Fanon's dynamic concept of

created national culture, Hall describes cultural identity as something produced in "a

particular place and time, from a history and a culture which is specific" (392). It

represents "points of identification... which are made within the discourses of history

and culture" (395). Hall contends that cultural identity is not only a production, but a "'re-

telling' of the past" (393). Homi Bhaba also recognizes the significance of retelling the

past and demonstrates how re-membering in-forms the present cultural identity of

people: "...re-membering is... a putting together of the dismembered past to make









sense of the trauma of the present. It is such a memory of history of race and racism,

colonialism and the question of cultural identity" (90). Nine Night was such a form of

"re-telling" and "re-membering" the past; it countered the essentalizing Otherness of the

colonial and neocolonial projects. In (re)producing cultural identity through Nine Night,

the disenfranchised poor in Jamaica interact with ancestors in order to "make sense of

the trauma of the present."

The concept of Nine Night is based on the imagined magical superstructure

because participants in the ceremony endeavor to satisfy the spirit of the departed. In

her anthropological investigations on Jamaican Nine Night, Zora Neale Hurston

identifies Nine Night as "the most universal ceremony in Jamaica" and argues that it

follows the "West African tradition of appeasing the spirit of the dead lest they do the

living a mischief' (39). By "appeasing the spirit of the dead", the black subjects not only

enact communal healing, but they try to bring balance to their world. Leopold Senghor

declares that African ontology teaches that "each of the identifiable life forces of the

universe from the grain of sand to the ancestors is... a network of [complementary]

life forces" (31). By working towards making 'contradictory' life forces more

'complementary', Africans moved from "existing to being" (31). While this included

forming a unified community, Senghor argues that African aesthetics was central to this

'being'. Much as Senghor describes the effects of appeasing the spirits of the dead in

West Africa, the Nine Night ceremony brings 'balance' to the world of the living and

dead.

A central component of the Nine Night ceremony is spirit possession. Jamaicans

believed that spirits had the power to impact the life of the living. The spirit









communicates with the living at the Nine Night and sometimes instructs them (Simpson

330). It was believed that the spirit of the deceased would transcend the world of the

living nine days after death and the Nine Night was practiced to appease the spirit of the

dead. George Eaton Simpson writes: "The spirit of a dead person returns to its home

on the ninth night after death and, if it is financially possible, lower class Jamaicans

arrange a service for that night" (Simpson 329). As demonstrated by the

anthropological observations of Simpson and Hurston, poor, black Jamaicans were the

ones who performed the Nine Night. Hurston observes that many of the participants

were poor "barefoot people" who took great pride in this "ancient ceremony" which they

considered part of their heritage (39). Despite their poverty, Hurston notes that the

people treated the dead body with ceremonial importance: "The corpse might have

been an African monarch on safari, the way he came borne in his hammock" (Hurston

41). They silently carried the body "and the dead man rode like a pharaoh his rags

and his wretchedness gilded in glory" (Hurston 41). Hurston observations demonstrate

how, despite the revelry, the black peasants viewed Nine Night with ceremonial

importance.

Nine Night is partly an aesthetic ritual that is practiced to mark the passing of a

spirit from the world of the living. In accordance to the West African basis of the ritual, it

is "an art of the subject and of the spirit" (Senghor 33). In Subjectivity and aesthetics in

the Jamaican nine night, Huon Wardle argues "how subjective values come to be

validated through the human relationships created in the nine night [and] out of this

process, the soul of the dead person achieves a kind of rhythmic materiality within the

ritual event, and... this performance of localisation can be traced to key existential









concerns in Jamaican life" ([Sub] 247). Even though it is a common, 'local' event, Nine

Night enables subject formation within a universal cosmology: "in aesthetic and religious

experience there arises the intuitive possibility that subjectivity may achieve [a] sought

after universality or communicability" ([Sub] 247). The localization of the Nine Night

ceremony is not only observed on a geographic level, but also on a subjective level. In

terms of negotiating subjectivity, Nine Night participants develop an "acute... high

metaphorical, social philosophy which uncovers within social experience powerful

religious-aesthetic meanings for the self" (8).

Even though Nine Night is usually performed for a single dead relative, the

ceremony is a celebration and joins together many people for the purpose of communal

healing. In his ethnographic analysis of Nine Night, Wardle identifies the 'theme of livity'

as central to all Nine Night performances and subjective 'livity' is (re)produced through

performative rhythmization: "One major aesthetic and moral value of the wake for its

participants lies in its capacity to incorporate [subjective narratives and evocations of

personal experience] and to reframe [these] in reciprocal terms as a mutual celebration

of 'livity' of being alive" (Wardle 190). Individual performance is central to the Nine

Night ritual and there is less of a reliance on structured 'belief systems.' Wardle argues

that "more recent investigations into Jamaican religion do take greater account of both

the individualistic, person-centered, character of Jamaican religious expression as well

as the performative dynamics through which religious experience is generated" (169).

According to Wardle, Jamaicans do not rely on religious leaders to instruct them about

religion. He claims that there is no one organized belief system "influencing working









class Jamaican religiousness" and, as a result, Nine Night is a space where individuals

from all religious backgrounds form community and celebrate life (169).

Even though religious expression may be individualistic, events portrayed in the

ceremony serve as a historical re-membering of a communal black history: "On the one

hand, the 'echo in the bone' is personal and familial memory kept alive by the oral

tradition and ritual ceremonies; on the other it is deeply ingrained racial memory,

transmitted by and located in the collective unconscious of race or culture" (Balme 102).

For the slaves and their descendants, the wake rituals "...reordered their universe,

regulated their village communities, and empowered their overt and covert resistance to

slave labor systems" (Turner 28). Jamaican slaves were emancipated in 1834, but their

descendants of continued to experience racism and economic disenfranchisement.

Even though they were "free", postemancipated blacks continued to be haunted by the

past of colonial slavery. They were still under the control of colonial authority and

suffered from a peasant labor system. These blacks continued the cultural practice of

wake rituals in the form of Nine Night which enabled them to (re)connect with their

enslaved ancestors and enact communal healing. Nine Night continues to occur in

postcolonial Jamaica and is practiced by a majority of blacks who, to large extent,

remain impoverished and disenfranchised. Contemporary Nine Night celebrations are

still sites of communal gathering and healing and ancestral worship.









CHAPTER 2
(RE)PRODUCING JAMAICAN CULTURAL IDENTITY THROUGH NINE NIGHT IN
DENNIS SCOTT'S AN ECHO IN THE BONE11

An Echo in the Bone: Nine Night as Jamaican National Culture

Dennis Scott's play An Echo in the Bone demonstrates how Nine Night serves as

a foundation of national culture in Jamaica. Scott participates in the reproductionn of

this national culture by using the ritual as the basis for the play. The play takes place in

the postemancipation context of 1937 in a rural Jamaican village near the Blue

Mountains at a Nine Night ceremony organized by Crew's wife, Rachel, nine days after

his death. The ninth day marks the time when Crew's spirit would transcend the world

of the living. Crew is believed to have murdered Mr. Charles, who was a white

plantation estate owner, and then drowned in a river. It is unclear whether Crew tried to

escape or committed suicide. Using spirit possession, the play moves between key

moments in Jamaican history from the Middle Passage, slavery in Jamaica, to different

time periods in the 1930s. By recalling the past of their enslaved ancestors, the

participants of the Nine Night give a voice to their ancestors who were denied

participation in colonial slave society.

Through spirit possession, the ceremony becomes a space for enacting familial

and communal healings for the participants: familial healing by settling the conflict

between Sonson and Jacko and communal healing for the black peasant characters in

the village who resolve the circumstances surrounding the murder of Mr. Charles by

Crew. Both Sonson and Jacko were in love with Brigit and Sonson was agitated that

Brigit choose Jacko. Through his wits, Jacko is able to convince Sonson (possessed by

11 The phrase, the poverty of blackness, is borrowed from the Tsitsi Dangaremba's novel
Nervous Conditions. I (re)appropriate the phrase here to refer to the interlocking sociopolitical
markers of race and class that in-form the subjectivity of characters in Scott's play.









Crew) to come down from the roof and not jump. The two reconcile and the play

concludes in ritual celebration. This celebration is characteristic of the 'eudemonic

present' evinced by many black subjects who continue to resist European cultural

configurations. The final scene reveals how characters navigate a politics of moral

order in everyday life and, comparatively, the aesthetics of everyday life includes

cultural practices such as Nine Night where these politics are debated, discussed and

performed.

Scott implies that the sacral practices as part of the national culture of Jamaica like

Nine Night can provide some physic healing to the nation of Jamaica. Like many

postcolonial nations who received political independence in the 1960s, Jamaica was

embroiled in a moment of postcolonial crisis that included political violence and

economic hardships. Produced in postcolonial, postindependence Jamaica, the play

reveals how black subjects continued to be 'chained' under economic oppression. The

economic enslavement is physically represented in the set of the play by the central

location of "a huge rusted chain that hangs from the roof and dominates the stage" (Hill

12). Errol Hill notes that: "An obvious reference to the shackles of slavery, the chain

bears testimony to the continued economic enslavement of the black worker" (Hill 12).

The chain indicates that the marginalization of the black subjects is directly linked to the

institution of slavery, continues through the 1930s when the play is set (a period where

national consciousness was being formed) and throughout the postcolonial period of the

early 1970s in Jamaica where Scott is writing from.

Enacting Holland's space of death, the peasants in Scott's play have an intimacy

with death. Brigit questions Rachel about the relevance of having a Nine Night for a









murderer: "Ma, what you doing this for? Why you don't make the dead stay dead? Is

best the village forget him now, and forget how he spill the blood of another man" (Scott

78). Rachel retorts that the ceremony is significant because it allows her to pay respect

to her husband and evinces a re-membering of Crew: "Is my man, I going satisfy his

ghost with whatever respect I have to give him. You think you can wipe out thirty years

of him so? (Scott 79). In another scene, Rachel tells Mr. Charles not to "speak of ill of

the dead" (118). Through Nine Night, the space of death becomes a site for black

performance of life-in-death. Despite their material poverty, the characters maintain the

cultural currency inherited from their enslaved ancestors who developed a creole

cosmology constructed with African and Christian elements that in-formed their world

view. In the epigraph, one of the main characters in the play, Rachel, proclaims that

conducting the Nine Night ceremony is "business". The black subjects find cultural

value in this ceremony because it enables them to honor their departed ancestors and

restore order to the world of the living. In the postemancipated society, the black

subjects continue to rely on the 'sacral texts' to (re)produce their cultural identity.

The play features a Jamaican folk culture that 'echoes in the bone.' This national

culture is structured around the politics and moral order of peasant life. Central to the

production of consciousness and reproductionn of cultural identity by Jamaican folk is

morality. In her study of Jamaican Pentecostalism entitled Jamaica Genesis: Religion

and the Politics of Moral Order, Diane J. Austin-Broos examines how Jamaicans

negotiate subjectivity based on the "politics of moral order". The theoretical framework

for her book is based on the Foucauldian notions about how "politics" and "ethics"

impact the negotiation of subjectivity. In describing the oppressive power of politics,









Foucault notes that politics pervades everyday life. Thus, as a commonplace practice

and a space of subjective negotiation, Nine Night can represent a politics of the people.

Austin-Broos develops the concept of "the politics of moral order" that impact cultural

identity production "not only in religious life, but in [everyday] Jamaican society at large"

(Austin Broos 11)12. Austin Broos acknowledges the 'production' of subjectivity through

"modes of representation or practice" governed by the politics of moral order (12).

Restoring Moral Order by Re-Membering Crew

The traditional cultural practice of Nine Night, which is not discussed in Austin

Broos book, participates in this politics of moral order and Jamaicans use the ceremony

to (re)produce their cultural identity. The rebellious ancestral slaves used the politics of

moral order to determine that they should fight for freedom. Meanwhile, their

descendants continue to resist colonial and imperialistic authorities by negotiating

subjectivity through the politics of moral order. The "ethics" and "politics" of black

subjectivity are integral to Scott's play. The "intersubjective experiencess" that in-form

the subjective negotiation of the characters in the play are predominantly race, class

and religiosity (Austin Broos 12). Using Nine Night as the conceptual framework for the

play enables Scott to represent and remember a history of the black peasants that is a

critical 're-vision' of the colonial historical narrative.

Crew is a metonymic character and represents the common black Jamaican

peasant: "He was a poor black man like all o' we" (Scott 86). White landowners like Mr.


12 Austin Broos writes that the "politics of moral order in which subjects sustain themselves
through modes of representation or practice... can mediate, criticize, or reinforce the larger
orders of governance. This focus on moral order as well as symbolic mediation carries with it
the post-structuralist insight...that subjectivity is not merely inscribed or created at will but rather
is the product of intersubjective experience that carries with it negotiations of values practice,
and the authority of symbols" (12)









Charles are able to thrive in the rural areas because they have access to the needed

resources. Crew claims to be prideful since he has the 'freedom' to provide for his

family and own land. Land was important to the postemancipated black subjects

because it gave them the independence to produce for themselves. Fanon writes: "For

a colonized people, the most essential value, because it is the most meaningful, is first

and foremost the land: the land which must provide bread, and naturally, dignity" (9).

Owning land is "meaningful" for Crew and he expresses "dignity" in being able to use

the land for the benefit of his family. He is angered when Rachel suggests he move to

town to find work while she works as a domestic worker in Mr. Charles's great house.

Crew asserts: "Those that raise on the land must stay on the land! That is where we

belong!" (Scott 125).

The land is tied to Crew's ontology partly because his grandparents were raised

on the same land he owns and it enables him to provide for his family: "If you take away

the line from the ground I am nothing. I am nobody!...It is my birthright that says I am

not a slave anymore. I don't have to beg no man for bread to pass down to my children.

And my woman don't have to go slave in any white man house" (Scott 128). For Crew,

his 'freedom' is tied to land since he is able to farm it and provide for his family. The

central conflict of the play, the murder, occurs when Crew confronts Mr. Charles who

diverted water which prevented Crew and other black farmers from yielding crops. By

diverting the water, Mr. Charles was cutting off Crew from his lifeline, taking away

Crew's independence, and making Crew subservient. The events re-enacted by spirit

possession suggests that Mr. Charles, who lusts after Rachel, did this purposely to









instigate Crew. This instigation results in Mr. Charles severing Crew's ontological ties to

the land, thus robbing him of an ancestral history.

By diverting the water and making Crew and his family destitute, Mr. Charles is

effectively dematerializingg' Crew. Crew's body is physically absent in the play which

affirms his dematerialization. Working within a Marxist discourse, Fred Moten

demonstrates how black subjects, even in freedom, encounter "dematerialization":

In the transition from slave labor to free labor... value is transferred from
labor to labor power. That is to say that value is extracted from the ground
of intrinsic work... and becomes the potential to produce value. This
transference and transformation is also a dematerialization again, a
transition from the body, more fully the person, of the laborer to a potential
that operates in excess of the body (Moten 251).

Crew's friends and family are the only ones that value Crew since, like his poor

compatriots, his 'potential to produce' is no longer economically viable in an increasingly

modernized society. This 'dematerialization' can be translated as a type of death and is

representative of the marginalization of the black subjects who were impoverished and

disenfranchised. Thus, like their enslaved ancestors, the blacks in 1930s Jamaica were

relegated to the space of death. Nevertheless, the Nine Night ceremony shows how

Crew's spirit was valued by the family because it was able to provide a sense of

communal healing.

According to the politics of moral order evinced in this play during the Nine Night,

the murder of Mr. Charles must be placed in context with a history of physic trauma

inflicted on black subjects. "This final interpretation of history and remaking of individual

stories reverses the annihilated consequences of murderous confrontation. The

humiliated and mutilated past ceases to be 'sticks and stones... breaking [their] bones"

(qtd Bada 91). During the Nine Night ceremony, Crew possesses his son Sonson and









reveals how when he confronted Mr. Charles, a physical altercation ensued. Mr.

Charles condemned Crew for having the audacity to come up to the front door of the

Great House asking Mr. Charles for the favor of diverting water to the land. Mr. Charles

tried to kick Crew and Crew retaliated by chopping Mr. Charles with the machete. To

Crew, the murder of Mr. Charles was justified because "he was a bad man, and the

earth was calling out for his blood for what he do to us...All of us..." (Scott 87). A

national healing is expressed because the class conflict between the black peasantry

and plantocracy in Jamaica becomes discernable through the ceremony.

The murder was not a random act of violence and the Nine Night ceremony

enables historical contextualization. Crew remarks that his death was a killing and

attributes it to 'white man lies': "I not the first one the white man kill with his lies. Nor the

last one" (Scott 87). During the possession, Crew's family is able to absolve the spirit

from the crime of murder. Crew's spirit is freed from the burden and is able to move on

to the spiritual world. They provide him with a clean shirt and water to cleanse himself.

While Crew warns that others will be killed by "white man... lies", the cleansing of the

blood is representative of an optimistic future not dominated by murderous violence.

The ceremony also serves as communal healing and celebration not only though the

gathering of friend and family in celebration, but through the easing of tensions between

Crew's sons.

Revivals and Re-Traditionalization: Religious Elements in Scott's Play

The post-emancipation period which the play was set in "was the context in which

Jamaica's early Revival religion took root. Its animated universe of spirit and ghosts

and its biblical pantheon of prophets were consistent with highly localized environment"

(Austin Broos 23). Throughout the play, characters invoke the name of "God", "Jesus"









and "Christ". This is because after the spread of Christianity, the spiritual world

imagined by the Jamaicans became inhabited by biblical figures. Rachel, invoking

biblical "ethics", proclaims that Crew was "tempted by devil in wilderness" (Scott 84).

Through this remark, Rachel is likening Crew to Christ and he is considered a martyr.

Crew's body was never found and the Nine Night ceremony served as the site of

resurrection for his spirit. With limited access to institutions of the state, these

Jamaicans had a "view of the world [that] was at once local, magical, and infused with a

creole cosmology. Religious rite was a response to suffering and a means to a better

life" (Austin Broos 27).

Rattler the drummer plays a central role in the play because the drumming signals

possession scenes. Drumming is identified as a major component of most revivalist

ceremonies. In another scene that includes retraditionalized Christian practices, Madam

invokes the name of Christ and anoints the head of Dreamboat in the symbol of a cross

when he was possessed by a violent spirit (82). After this event, Rachel enters the barn

to start the Nine Night proceedings "dressed in white, with her head tied" (82). This

scene demonstrates that the characters are perhaps part of a revivalist cult. Rachel

operates as the ceremonial leader of the Nine Night ceremony and research into

revivalists cults indicate that women often assumed leadership roles.

In the beginning of the play, Rachel sings what appears to be a gospel refrain

about being in the wilderness: "Me alone, Me alone, in de wilderness...forty days and

forty nights in the wilderness" (Scott 76). Christopher Balme argues that the scene

where Dreamboat becomes possessed and is revitalized by being anointed with oil in









the "sign of a cross" (Scott 81) is also a signifier of Christian symbols used by syncretic

or revivalists cults:

This scene demonstrates how Christian symbols are reinterpreted in a way
typical of syncretic cults. The candles, the sign of the cross, and the
anointment are signifiers of the Christian belief system... In the context of
possession such traditional symbols are redefined and used as directly
efficacious and not just as symbolic devices against the dangers of the
spiritual world. (103)

The 'reinterpretation' and 'redefining' of these Christian symbols signify a

'retraditionalization' of Christian practices into Nine Night rituals. Balme claims that

within the Christian belief system, these symbols have "symbolic or metaphorical

significance", but within the creole cosmology they are "efficacious" as weapons that

fend off unruly spirits such as the one that was 'riding' Dreamboat. This reveals that

although they were denied access to material resources of the colonial society, the

peasants used symbolic tools available to them as a means of empowerment. Nine

Night is a space of spiritual empowerment where spirits of dead ancestors are imagined

to be part of a magical superstructure that includes Christian spirits. The Nine Night

while evolved from African belief systems, includes retraditionalized Christian elements

which provides characters with a space to express a distinct religiosity in a colonial

society dominated by Christianity.

The 'Poverty of Blackness': (Im)Material Ontology and Black Subjectivity

While many scholars have demonstrated the cultural significance of Scott's play, I

intend to explore the important historical, economic and political critiques provided by

the play. The murder of Mr. Charles is not just an act of racial violence that re-calls a

history of violent colonial encounters between blacks and whites, but it was also

illustrative of postemancipation and postcolonial economic violence. In the play, the









white planter class, like the slave masters before them, continued to control the fate of

the black subjects despite emancipation. This is evidenced by Mr. Charles who is able

to divert water from the river which made Crew destitute. The rural peasants, portrayed

in Scott's play, like their postcolonial descendants, were disenfranchised and forgotten

by the national authorities. Through the Nine Night, the black farmers attempt to

(re)produce a cultural identity that in-forms their present and is based on the colonial

past.

Emphasizing how the space of death is inhabited by blacks from different time

periods is integral to the understanding of Scott's play. It is also useful in describing the

ontological and (im)material condition of the peasants. Each scene from the re-

membered historical past portrays some form of economic enslavement. Scott's play

demonstrates how in "freedom" the descendants of the slaves were influenced by the

indigenous folk culture inherited from ancestral slaves and continue to (re)produce

subjectivity in relation to continued oppression and hardships. These descendants now

perform the subjectivity of blackness and through this performance express a shared

'material heritage': "laborers who were commodities before... continue to pass this

material heritage across the divide that separates slavery and 'freedom'" (Moten 6).

The cultural identity of the black peasants is intersected with the racial marker of

blackness and class marker of poverty. The old character P observes: "all of we poor,

all of we black" (96). The fictional characters in the play, like their counterparts the

black Jamaicans in the 1930s see themselves as poor black subjects.

The emancipated black Jamaicans were still colonized and many would be

subjected to a perpetual state of peasantry. Austin-Broos gives a historical account of









Jamaica after emancipation and argues that the post emancipation period in Jamaica

was affected by "a rapid withdrawal of British economic interest", "a decline in external

trade", and "a localization of rural life" (qtd. Austin Broos 23). Emancipated blacks

"connected positions of servitude to their Africaness which they viewed as a curse

derived from colonial experience. To be black, poor and landless, or cultivated at a near

subsistence level, became historically marked" (Austin Broos 25). In an exchange

where they discuss the economic shortcomings of their postemancipation life, the older

character P says that being free is "a big change" despite their impoverishment and lack

of economic opportunity. However, one of the younger characters Brigit retorts: "You

feel so? You skin white, then Mass P? To them you is still dirt, nothing you can say will

change the way they look at you. No respect, you know that" (Scott 109). Brigit notices

that the lack of "respect" results in a lack of economic opportunity for the black

peasants. Economic well being is equated with whiteness. Historian Walter Rodney

identifies the "relationships between color [sic] and power in the imperialist world" as a

product of the continued colonial project and argues that the "association of wealth with

whites and poverty with blacks is not accidental" (19).

Even though Scott's play is set during a Nine Night ceremony in rural Jamaica

during the 1930s, the act of spirit possession characters travel through various temporal

periods. As the characters search for an answers and attempt to grieve and reconcile

the murder of Mr. Charles and the disappearance of Crew, the play imparts an

important pedagogical lesson. In order to fully comprehend the trauma of the present in

the postcolonial and postemancipation period:

Verbal explanations will not suffice. Because the answers lie deep in racial
memory, because they 'echo in the bone', it will be necessary to relive the









past, not just the immediate past but the history of an oppressed people in
order to find meaning in the madness. To make this journey back into the
communal psyche, author Scott has summoned a traditional death ritual,
the Nine Night ceremony, in whose observance is compressed the actual
and supernatural, the past and present, the living and dead. (Hill 10)

Characters are transported through various historical periods and settings including:

"the present, a ship moored off Africa in 1792, Madam's shop two days ago, an

auctioneer's office in 1820, woods near an estate in 1833, Crew's house four years

ago..." (Scott 75). Through spiritual possession, which was commonplace in early Nine

Night ceremonies, characters transform into people from the past. Spirit possession

enables the characters to assume different roles13. Additionally, "the act of spirit

possession [can] be seen as a means of unlocking the racial memory of a cultural

group" (Blame 102). Therefore, Scott's use of Nine Night is not only a theatrically

"economic" decision, but it enables Scott to present a "panoramic view of history" from

the perspective of the black subjects (Hill 11).

The play takes place about 100 years after the emancipation from slavery,

however the black subjects continue to be 'haunted' by the past and oppressed in the

present by the colonial authority. Arguably, this time period is when blacks in Jamaica

started to develop a national consciousness. In the context of the play, Scott seems to

suggest that as the nation moved towards independence, the colonial history needed to

be 're-membered' as it informed the present. In 1930s Jamaicans started to evoke

Black Nationalism spurred by Garveyites and Rastafarians. The characters in the play

repeatedly refer to themselves as 'black' and have a sense of 'pride' in being free.

Additionally, in 1938, a year after the setting of this play, there were nationwide labor

13 Balme develops a theatrical concept of "possession paradigm". He writes: "The act of
possession becomes a kind of paradigm, a ritual equivalent, for the modern convention of role-
playing on the stage where one actor can assume a multiplicity of roles." (101)









movements and violent protests that featured class and racial struggles. These protests

resulted in "political concessions" that "ended with the granting of political independence

in 1962" (Campbell 84).

Even though it was a localized ritual, the cultural practice of Nine Night enabled

the black subjects to form a cultural identity that resisted colonial authority.

Emphasizing the political edge of cultural rituals, in Anti-Imperialist Theatrical Forms in

the Anglophone Caribbean, theatre critic Elaine Savory argues that "[African forms of

expression] are most developed in postcolonial societies in... creolized cults [that are]

inherently theatrical and inherently political, moving towards liberating a community from

the fear which would assume their acquiescence to a brutal and hostile governing

power" (244). As a cultural practice of the revivalist cult, Nine Night operates not only

as a site of resistance, but as a site where black subjectivity is negotiated and

communal healing occurs. Thus, the Nine Night is part of a national culture of Jamaica

because it is a ritual that is practiced by the majority poor blacks and the reproductionn

of the ceremony serves as a liberating practice. In his exploration of black subjectivity,

Scott demonstrates the existence of a spiritual "inner domain" and suggests that there

was a collective, national consciousness developing among the peasantry in Jamaica

before the country gained its political independence.

These black subjects who are often en-grave-d in written colonial history as

objects are able to give an oral account and actually perform their collective his-story.

The characters are rural black Jamaican peasants whose cultural identity was in-formed

by the magical superstructure. Due to the religious worldview of black peasants, it is no

coincidence that the focal point of the play is the Nine Night ceremony. They try to re-









member past events in order to reconcile a violent act of the present. In (re)producing

cultural identity, the play re-tells the colonial past from the perspective of the black

peasants. Renu Juneja argues that by 'recalling' history, the characters gain agency so

that they become "actors in their own history" rather than "passive subjects of history"

(97-98). Juneja contends that the Nine Night ceremony setting for the play which

includes "the phenomenon of spirit possession" is "the most appropriate choice in terms

of the history Scott is making or remaking because it signals at the outset that this

history is a possession of the black people and very different from the sanctioned

colonial accounts" (98). The Nine Night becomes a space where the blacks repossess

their history and tell their own narrative. One example of a "sanctioned" colonial history

used in the play was the reference to a "volume by Mr Bryan Edwards" that describes

the African slaves in Jamaica (Scott 92). The book was referenced by a white woman

who came to observe slaves being transported by ship in a scene from the Middle

Passage.

There are not only direct violent acts, but symbolic violence inflicted on the slaves

in the form of the written account. According to Notes and Records of the Royal Society

of London, "Bryan Edwards was a Jamaican planter and politician who published a well-

respected History of the West Indies in 1793. He articulated the planter view concerning

the value of the West Indian colonies to Great Britain, and opposed the abolition of the

slave trade" (Blouet 215). Through the Nine Night ceremony and spirit possession, the

characters tell the history of their enslaved ancestors. Thus, Scott's play becomes the

space where the "objects" of Edwards's historical written record are given a voice and

combat the symbolic violence of the colonial historical record.









In the play, the spiritually possessed characters were transformed to this scene

from the past. After the woman reads a passage from the book regarding the docility of

a certain African tribe which makes them "best-disposed slave", a scuffle ensues

between slaves (Scott 92). A white man tries to stop them, but the slaves do not

understand him. The white man cuts out the tongue of one of the slaves. The mute

drummer Rattler was possessed by the slave whose tongue was violently chopped.

This scene reveals how the traumatic silencing of the slave from the past is directly

embodied by Rattler. Rattler can only communicate through his drumming. Through

spirit possession, the characters discover that the violence of the past was a precursor

to the violence of the present. The character of Rattler represents the continued silence

of the black peasants, however the Nine Night gives them a space to speak and

express themselves. Rattler's drumming is a form of communication and it is central to

the ceremony because it initiates spirit possessions.

Later in the play, a Maroon proclaims to a white man: "A black day for you when

you taught us your tongue Busha. All the tribes coming together under one language.

The word is freedom, and one day the whole country going to stand up and shout it out"

(Scott 106). Scott is able to use the "tongue" of peasant Jamaicans in order to tell a

collective history. The play is written in dialect and the Jamaicans become active

agents who give their own version of history as opposed to being "passive subjects",

thereby resisting the colonial narrative and forming a cultural identity of their own. Nine

Night is a distinct cultural space where Jamaicans can communicate with departed

ancestors through spirit possession.









Regarding the economic condition of the peasant blacks, the play exposes how

the black laborers in the 1930s were still disenfranchised much like their enslaved

ancestors were. In lamenting the condition of peasant colonial farmers in respect to

Crew's death, the older character of P laments:

You cut down the cane for a lifetime, every year you drag the sweetness
out of the ground with you bare hands and pray the next season will be
easy. Three hundred years crying into the white man's ground, to make the
cane green, and nothing to show... Nothing to show!... And then they plough
you back into the canes, and nobody remember how strong you was. And
when they squeeze the canes nobody knows how much blood it takes to
make the rum hot and sweet (Scott 86).

The "three hundred years of crying into the white man's ground" refer to the colonial

system financed by slave labor. Postemancipation peasant black farmers were still tied

to the land, much of which was owned by white planters. According to Austin Broos,

"the small farmers who stayed on the land still had only limited representation. These

Jamaicans faced events that involved the emergence of nation-state structures but

structures to which they had limited access" (27). The "unseen" scenic setting of the

play includes "miles of sugar cane, a few small peasant holdings, and the old Great

House of the estate owner" (Scott 75). The colonial Manichean divide as described by

Fanon can be observed in the play's setting with the peasant holdings of black farmers

juxtaposed to the "old Great House" of Mr. Charles. The "miles of sugar cane"

represent the main crop harvested during slavery.

Under the colonial system, there was a disparity between the rural areas and the

metropolis in the colonies. As noted, many peasants did not have "access" to the

"nation-state structures" and, as a result, were subjected to a state of poverty. Colonial

"geopolitics" enabled urban areas to develop while rural areas were often left

underdevelopment and in a state of peasantry. Fanon writes:









We know that colonial domination gave preferential treatment to certain
regions. The colony's economy was not integrated into that of the nation as
a whole...Colonialism almost never exploits the entire country. It is content
with extracting natural resources and exporting them to the metropolitan
industries thereby enabling a specific sector to grow relatively wealthy,
while the rest of the colony continues, or rather sinks, into
underdevelopment and poverty (106).

In Jamaica, 'town' is the urban metropolis, but the characters in the play live in a rural

village in the mountains. They are essentially 'marooned' from the state structures in

the town14. This is characteristic of how during this period, these black subjects were

increasingly 'localized'. Some characters want to move to town for jobs, while others,

like Crew, express discontentment about leaving the rural land for the violent town.

In a society that was becoming increasingly modernized, rural farming was no

longer economically viable. Juxtaposed to Crew's farming instrument, the machete,

white land owners were starting to use machines. After the murder of Mr. Charles, P

observes that: "New times coming. The next owner going to put in machines all over,

and what will happen to you and me then?" (Scott 86). Some of the young characters

like Stone respond saying that they will travel to town to find work since rural farming

was not enough to provide a living. Dreamboat complains that: "The white ladies, all of

them go into the town to buy their goods, nobody in the market to take the provisions off

you hands except poor people like you, hungry same way, poor same way" (Scott 108).

The characters have difficulty buying goods and sometimes try to barter ground

provisions.

Throughout the play, the currency of the whites is juxtaposed to that of the blacks.

On one level, the 'business' of Nine Night is a form of cultural currency for the peasant


14 As I will argue later, the characters in the play can be considered descendants of the Maroons
who were free slaves that fought the British.









blacks, however whites controlled the material wealth in the colonial society so the black

peasants often had to rely on other forms of material currency. In Madam's shop,

Rachel tries to exchange ground provisions for a bill she owes while Madam reminds

Dreamboat to give her some of his hunted game to repay her for feeding him (Scott 96-

98). At the end of this scene, in the street, cries are heard promoting produce such as

fruits and fish (Scott 98). The play then shifts into a scene from the past in an

"auctioneers office in town" (Scott 98) where the "business" (Scott 99) is being

conducted of negotiating the sale of a slave girl. The sale of the fresh, virgin bodies

valued by the white slavemasters is juxtaposed to the sale of fresh produce by black

market vendors which are valued by the white planter class. Interestingly, the sale is

being conducted by a black slave who speaks standard English. This slave represents

a colonial mimic who is culpable in the exploitation of the women.

Arguably, Scott implicates both blacks and whites in the brutal colonial history. In

fact, the central act of the play is a black man, Crew, murdering the white landowner Mr.

Charles. By shifting to scenes from the past which enables historical contextualization,

Scott reveals how both blacks and whites are both victims and perpetrators of violence:

"The device of possession... assists in [providing] a coherent explanation of how Crew

came to murder Mr. Charles and what this means: instead of seeing the act as a single

criminal brutality, we see black and white locked into a violent history, one killing the

other in different ways" (Savory 247). The complex history of trauma and violence

results in an equally complex renegotiation of black subjectivity. Through spirit

possession, the traumas of slavery and the colonial past are brought to the forefront.









Thus, in the play, Nine Night is a space where a healing of this past occurs for all

individuals involved in the brutalities of colonialism.

Another scene shift occurs into the woods where two Maroons encounter an

injured white man, whom they refer to as "Busha"15. Busha curses them and tries to

offer them money to lead him home. The Maroons say they "have no use for the

money", and Busha angrily retorts, "What the hell do you mean, money is money!"

(Scott 103). During the exchange, it is revealed that money can only be spent in the

town and there was a bounty out for Maroons that ventured out of the hills, thus the

money was of no use to the Maroons. They wanted weapons instead, knives or guns,

from the white man which was useful for them in their fight for freedom.

This scene takes place in 1833, about a year before the British emancipated

slaves in the colonies. The characters in Scott's play are perhaps part of this Maroon

lineage and they want the freedom to grow and sell their crops. In the scene described

above, the Maroon remarks to Busha: "True you don't need money. You rich eh? Not

like me. If you ever know how hard I have to work to find food" (Scott 103). It appears

the white planter class represented by Mr. Charles inherited wealth from the "rich" white

Bushas, while the black subjects continue to work "hard" off the land to survive like their

Maroon predecessors.

It is important to note that in this scene, the Maroons do not kill Busha. At the end

of the scene, one Maroon reveals to Busha that he spared his life because:

My father was a white man...I white too...And so when the day come to
count up the rich and poor, that is why I give you a chance. Maybe you will

15 Maroons were runaway slaves who formed "free" communities in the hills of Jamaica. They
fought wars with British troops and gained the right to form independent communities. According
to the Dictionary of Jamaican English, "Busha" can be a "term of address" or refer to "an
overseer of any kind of estate."









know more then and not talk about black and white so loud. And if you
don't know better than that then, the gun and the knife will decide who is
right. (106)

This scene closes out the first act of the play and the Maroons spare the man's life. It is

an important scene that demonstrates the impending severity of economic inequality.

This is an important transcendent theme because the postcolonial period where Scott

was writing from was marred by poverty and violence like the postemanicaption period

was. The Maroon implies that when the country is free, violent class warfare will take

precedence over racial differences.

Set a year before the "official" historical start of widespread labor riots in Jamaica,

the play refers back to the growing discontentment and frustration experienced by rural

peasants. Crew who owned land was opposed going to town, where many went to

seek jobs, because he saw it as a violent place. Conversely, Stone, who says Crew

encouraged him to buy land and "raise a crop" reveals that the rural black farmers stood

no chance against the white landowners who owned large quantities of land. Not only

were the rich white patrons going to town to buy their crop, but the rural farmers could

not compete with the white landowners. Stone says:

I watch how the big land-owners they corner up with their own and sell the
sugar back to us for four times what it cost us to raise. I know. I see inside
of the office sometimes, and the big house that they build from two hundred
years ago, when all of us worked the land for nothing, like animals. You
think things change any? (Scott 109)

Stone's revelations demonstrate that although the black subjects were "free" they now

lived in an imperialist economy where their labor was not valued. As Stone suggest, not

much has changed since the days of slavery since the black subjects were still

disenfranchised and shackled in "economic enslavement" which is symbolized by the

hanging chain used as a stage prop.









Dennis Scott's (Re)Production of Postcolonial Jamaican Theatre

While the characters in Scott's play try to negotiate subjectivity in 1930s Jamaica,

Scott is also endeavoring to negotiate a Jamaican theatrical subjectivity in the 1970s.

Scott sought to develop a distinct theater tradition in Jamaica that privileged folk rituals

over European forms of performance. The play was first produced in 1974 at the

University Drama Society in Jamaica (Hill 14). Joseph Roach, who borrows the title of

Scott's play in a chapter of his book where he discusses performance in relation to

death, explains that the play is part of a tradition of Caribbean theatrical performance.

Referring to the work of theater critic Errol Hill, Roach writes:

In the epilogue to his path-breaking Jamaican Stage, 1655-1900: Profile of
a Colonial Theatre (1992) [Errol Hill] places An Echo in the Bone in the
complex historical context of Caribbean performance traditions, including
amateur and professional productions of Shakespeare in colonial Kingston
and Afrocentric spirit-world rituals such as Nine Night. Like Hamlet... An
Echo in the Bone dramatizes the cultural politics of memory, particularly as
they are realized through communications between the living and the dead.
(34)

Scott's play transforms the Western aesthetics that "dramatizes the cultural politics of

memory" because of its use of the Nine Night ceremony. Roach recognizes that unlike

traditional Western plays like Hamlet which ends in the death of most characters,

Scott's play ends is more celebratory or optimistic: "In contrast to the linear narrative of

catastrophe so powerfully present in the Western drama, however, spirit-world

ceremonies, celebrations of the cycle of death and life, tend to place catastrophe in the

past, as a grief to be expiated" (35).

The Nine Night ceremony allowed the black subjects to 'expiate' past sins

thereby enabling them to determine a future of possibility. The characters in Scott's

play encounter a great deal of suffering, but are able to reconcile the violent past









through the Nine Night ritual. In regards to the ethical universal, the play suggests that

racial retribution is not a viable solution and that a "communal healing" is required

(Savory 241). The suffering not only includes a present state of peasantry for the black

subjects, but a violent colonial past. A peaceful future requires an honest telling of the

violent past: "No matter what is past, you can't stop the blood from drumming, and you

can't stop the heart from hoping" (Scott 98).

Combating the cultural imperialism of the West, Scott recalls the significance of

indigenous rituals such as Nine Night and envisions a type of cultural theatre that

utilizes these rituals16. According to Crow and Banfeild who theorize about post-colonial

theater, post-colonial dramatists revert to traditional, indigenous rituals in order to

challenge conventional Western theatrical practices and reawaken a cultural past

through "cultural recuperation" (12-14). Even though theatrical plays are often

considered to be a Western cultural practice, Crow and Banefield assert that post-

colonial playwrights are not just mimic men, but, through the use of distinct cultural

performances, they create and transform: "The stage of ritual drama... is not a place of

mimetic representation, but the dangerous arena of spiritual confrontation and

transformation" (14). They argue that Western realism which is predominant in Western

theater is not adequate to represent the post-colonial experience, so "the rediscovery

(or, sometimes, discovery) of indigenous performance traditions has often served to

emphasize the limitations of Western realism" (12-13). As a post-colonial dramatist,

Scott enacts a decolonizingg' of the stage by using Nine Night as the basis for his play

and resisting traditional Western aesthetics.



16 See Edward Said's Cultural Imperialism









Scott's play deviates from the realistic aesthetic and also presents a postcolonial

artistic production that does not privilege the "colonial order" (Dawes 28). Scott's play is

part of this tradition of Caribbean theatre that used Africanized 'rituals' in a serious

manner and it was produced at a time when the postcolonial bourgeoisie was

conducting extensive study into African based practices such as revivalism and obeah:

"During the politically charged 1960s and 1970s, obeah was venerated by politicians,

historians, and students of folklore as slave culture and a seminal part of an emergent

but undervalued African or "black" contribution to the "brown" and "white" influence on

the formation of colonial and postcolonial society (Rodriguez 357).

Scott sets his play in a rural setting which features peasant farmers, who are often

left out of the national narrative. Scott is partly presenting a critique of the country's

economic inequality which perhaps implicates the postcolonial national bourgeoisie. He

seems to be trying to re-member a violent colonial history and a postemancipation

period paralyzed by poverty in order to make sense of a moment of crisis in 1970s

Jamaica that suffered from political turmoil and economic hardships. The play relies on

the 'sacral' ritual of Nine Night. In the midst of the nation's progression into

modernization, Scott recalls the 'sacral texts' represented by the Nine Night ritual that

in-formed and continued to (re)produce black subjectivity.

Conclusion

As demonstrated in this project, religion is central to the reproductionn of

Jamaican cultural identity and the reproductionn of Nine Night continues to demonstrate

the importance of the sacral in the politics of everyday life. As evidenced by Scott's

play, Nine Night is an important element of Jamaican national culture. Living in a

society haunted by a brutal past of slavery and colonialism, a majority of the









postcolonial blacks in Jamaica continue to be socially marginalized and excluded from

access to the wealth and power of the state. They are relegated to the space of death

like their ancestors and their intimacy with death continues to thrive through Jamaican

practices such as Nine Night. Revivalism and African derived belief systems that

enable black subjectivity and resistivity. Thus, spirituality and death continue to be

important 'sacral texts' that in-form indigenous Jamaican imagined communities.









LIST OF REFERENCES


Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. New York: Verso, 1991. Print.

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. "The Postcolonial and the Postmodern." In My Father's
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Austin-Broos, Diane J. Jamaica Genesis: Religion and the Politics of Moral Orders.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Bada, Valerie. "Slavery and Silence in Ina Cesaire's 'Memoires d'lsles' and Dennis
Scott's 'An Echo in the Bone." The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language
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Balme, Christopher. Decolonizing the Stage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
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Besson, Jean. Martha Brae's Two Histories. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina
Press, 2002. Print.

Besson, Jean, and Chevannes, Barry. "The Continuity-Creativity Debate: The Case of
Revival." New West Indian Guide 70.3 (1996): 209-228. Web. 30 Mar. 2009.

Bhaba, Homi K. Locations of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994. Print.

Brown, Vincent. "Spiritual Terror and Sacred Authority in Jamaican Slave Society."
Slavery & Abolition 24.1 (April 2003): 24-53. Ingenta Connect. Web. 07 Jan.
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Cabral, Amilcar. "National Liberation and Culture." Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial
Theory. Ed. Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman. New York: Columbia
University Press, 1994. 53-65. Print.

Campbell, Horace. Rasta and Resistance. Trenton: Africa World Press, 1987. Print.

Cooper, Carolyn. "Hip-hopping across Cultures: Reggae to Rap and Back." Sound
Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large. New York: Palgrave McMillan,
2004. 231-251. Print.

Cooper, Carolyn. Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender, and the "Vulgar" Body of
Jamaican Popular Culture. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995. Print.

Chatterjee, Partha. The Nation and its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. Print.









Crow, Brian and Banefield, Chris. An introduction to post-colonial theatre. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1996. Print.

Dawes, Kwame. Natural Mysticism. Leeds: Pepal Tree Press, 1999. Print.

Donaldson, Laura. "Making a Joyful Noise." Messy Beginnings: Postcoloniality and
Early American Studies. Eds Malini Johar Schueller and Edward Watts.
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Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press, 1963.

Gates Jr., Henry Louis. "The 'Blackness of Blackness': A Critique of the Sign and the
Signifying Monkey." Critical Inquiry 9 (1983): 685-723. Jstor. Web. 15 Mar. 2009.

Hall, Stuart. "Cultural Identity and Diaspora". Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial
Theory. Ed. Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman. New York: Columbia
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Holland, Sharon Patricia. Raising the Dead: Readings of Death and (Black) Subjectivity.
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Hurston, Zora Neale. Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica. New York:
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Ivy, Marilyn. Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan. Chicago:
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Juneja, Renu. "Recalling the Dead in Dennis Scott's 'An Echo in the Bone.'" ARIEL: A
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Zahir Small was born on the island of Jamaica, but grew up in Long Island, New

York. He conducted undergraduate studies at Stony Brook University in New York

where he majored in biology and English. During his undergraduate tenure, he worked

as a Resident Assistant and a writing tutor. After obtaining his bachelor's degree in

2007, Zahir relocated to Florida. He is currently a master's candidate in the English

Department at the University of Florida. Along with his graduate studies, he also works

as a teaching assistant for the University Writing Program.





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1 (RE)PRODUCING CULTUR AL IDENITITY IN THE SPACE OF DEATH: JAMAICAN NINE NIGHT IN DENNIS AN ECHO IN THE BONE By ZAHIR SMALL A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMEN T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ART S UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010

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2 2010 Zahir Small

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3 To Granny Sida

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4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I thank the chair of my committee for her guidance and support. I thank my reader for her assistance with t his project. I thank the members of the department as well as my colleagues for their advice. A special thanks to my family and friends for their motivation and encouragement.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................ ................................ ............................... 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 6 CHAPTER 1 RESISTANCE AND DEATH IN NINE NIGHT ................................ ........................... 8 Introdu ction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 8 Nine Night and the Space of Death ................................ ................................ ........ 10 Slave Wake Rituals in Jamaica ................................ ................................ ............... 12 Magical Superstructure and Moral Order: The Cosmology of Jamaican Folk ......... 15 Re Traditionalizing Wake Rituals as Nine Night ................................ ..................... 19 2 (RE)PRODUCING JAMAIC AN CULTURAL IDENTITY THROUGH NINE NIGHT ECHO IN THE BONE ................................ .................... 24 An Echo in the Bone: Nine Night as Jamaican National Culture ............................. 24 Restoring Moral Order by Re Membering Crew ................................ ...................... 27 Revivals and Re .................. 30 .............. 32 .......................... 44 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 46 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 48 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 51

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6 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Arts (RE)PRODUC ING CULTURAL IDENTIT Y IN THE SPACE OF DEATH: JAMAI CAN NINE NIGHT IN DENNIS AN ECHO IN THE BONE By Zahir Small August 2010 Chair: Leah Rosenberg Major: English Nine Night is a wake ritual that thrives among the Jamaican folk It derives from wake rituals that were developed by ens laved Jamaica ns. Jamaicans (re) produce cultural identity through Nine Night. The first part of this thesis investigate s the development of Nine Night from slave wake rituals and demonstrate s how the cultural (re)production of this ceremony has allowed enslaved, postem ancipation, and postcolonial Jamaican blacks to negotiate subjectivity and resist Eurocentric historical and cultural hegemony theoretical concept of the space of death will be used to demonstrate how Jamaican folk are linked th rough their disenfranchisement and social and economic marginalization As a space of resistance and communal celebration, Nine Night empowers these poor blacks, allows them to pay homage to deceased kin and connect with t heir ancestors. The concept of N ine Night is based on an imagined magical superstructure that includes Christian and African elements and p articipants in the ceremony endeavor to satisfy the spirit of the departed. Nine Night enables poor Jamaicans to negotiate subjectivity by re member ing a fractured past, resisting cultural hegemony, and engaging in communal healing.

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7 An Echo in the Bone through which I aim to explore the (re)production of Nine Night in the postem ancipation and postcolonial contexts. Emphasizing how the space of death is play where Nine Night enables the black subjects to (re)produce a cultural identity. Sc ceremony is emblematic of a Jamaican national culture. While many scholars have explore the important historical, economic and political critiques provided by the play.

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8 CHAPTER 1 RESISTANCE AND DEATH IN NINE NIGHT Introduction Dennis Scott In Jamai ca, wake rituals were created by the black slaves and this cultural practice continues to thrive in the country 1 Revivalist cults that developed during the postemanicaption incorporated wake rituals as part of their organized belief systems and the ritua ls became known as Nine Night ceremonies. After someone died, ceremonies were held for nine days and the Nine Night ceremony marked the ninth day when it was believed that the spirit would transcend the world of the living. Today, t he ceremonies are now commonly referred to as dead yard, set up, or s inging ni ght. In December 2006, I attended two ceremonies in a small, rural community of Gimme Bit which is located in the parish of Clarendon, Jamaica. The two ceremonies I attended were held for my grandmo ther and the family planned two ceremonies in order to pay homage to both the black and Indian heritages of Jamaica. Clarendon has a small Indo Jamaican population many of whom reappropriate the Nine Night ceremony to include Indian cultural elements. Bo th ceremonies featured live bands libations, games, dancing, storytelling, and general socializing. In other rural villag es, the ceremony is performed as traditional Revivalist ceremonies that include Kumina or Pocomania rituals Despite the difference s in how the ceremony is conducted, as noted in the epigraph An Echo in the Bone the space of Nine Night is se 1 Ethnographer Huon Wardle who conducted extensive studies of contemporary Nine Night ceremonies argues and today, in some Jamaican communities, residents regularly attend ceremonies (173).

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9 The first aim of this project is to investigate the developmen t of Nine Night from slave wake rituals and demonstrate how the cultural (re)production of this ceremony has allowed enslaved, postemancipation, and postcolonial Jamaican blacks to negotiate subjectivity and resist Eurocentric historical and cultural hegem ony 2 economic and s ociopolitical conditions are (in) formed by colonialism and, as a result, peasant black laborers continue to be socially marginalized and economically disenfranchised. As a space of resistance and communal celebration, Nine N ight empowers these poor blacks, allows them to pay homage to deceased kin and connect with t heir ancestors. In order to demonstrate how there is a close relationship between death and black subjectivity in the United States, Sharon Patricia Holland conce ptualizes peasants, who are marginalized by society and denied equal access to resources of the nation develop an intimacy with death and form close relationship with ancestors and th ese bonds function as a means of healing and establishing agency. This theoretical device provides a way to understand how the material condition of disenfranchised is linked to wake rituals such as Nine Night. Through ancestral worship the disenfranchised blacks re member a fragmented past and (re)produce cultural identity. An Echo in the Bone through which I aim to explore the (re)product ion of Nin e Night in the postemancipation and postcolonial contexts. a tradition of Jamaican literature that features indigenous folk practices such as Nine 2 For this project, I use the term postcolonial to refer to the time period after political independence.

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10 Night and attempts t o write subaltern colonial and postco lonial experiences in Jamaica 3 exemplifies Frantz national cul ture as a dynamic phenomenon that is vital to the existence of a group of people: people to describe, justify, and extol the actions whereby they have joined forces and remained s trong. National culture in the underdeveloped country, therefore must lie at the very heart of the liberation strug gle these countries are waging. (168) cultural analy tics of native intellectuals who are engaged with anticolonial p rojects. Through his engagement with cl ass critiques, Fanon calls for an evaluation of the colonial and postcolonial nation that takes into account the m aterial condition of the people. In t he play, Scott demonstrates that Nine Night was an impo rtant practice for the posteman c i pated and postcolonial disenfranchised blacks who continue to inhabit the space of death through economic marginalization culture, Nine Night allows the working poor In moving towards liberation, poor Jamaicans engage in communal healing and resist cultural hegemony Nine Night and the Space of Death The pr actice of the Nine Night ceremony demonstrates that black subjects have retained an intimacy with death. Th e conception of the space of death is not only 3 Among the most preeminent authors to use folk rituals is Erna Brodber whose novels Louisiana and Myal provide extensive insight into the sacral practices of Jamaican folk culture.

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11 relevant because the Nine Night is a wake ritual, but is also useful in describing the ontological an d material condition of the postemancipated and postcolonial peasants. Imagined Communities 4 and his concepts of nation society is, like the subject of death, almost unspeakable, so black subjects share the space the dead inhabit marginalization of blac are held in such isolation first by a system of slavery and second by its imaginative replacement then is not their relationship with the dead, those lodged in terms like ancestors or heritage more intimate than historians and critics have heretofore articulate Ho subjectivity of disenfranchised blacks in Jamaica. The Nine Night ceremony is one way in which Jamaican f olk re connect with their ancestors and the performance of this ritual is representative of a heritage of celebratory death rituals created by their enslaved ancestors. The wake ritual indicates the intimacy with death for black peasants in Jamaica. The sl ave like conditions that Holland claims are present in America are also of slavery can include the imperial oppression of black subjects who, for the most part, remain economically 4 Anderson critiques the idea of nationalism as the author wonders why people are willing to die for what he cons reveals, nationalism his revelations about how the concepts of death and religion aid in the construction of imagined communities prove important for Holla

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12 impoveris hed and entrapped in peasant labor systems. Postemancipated and postcolonial Jamaican black subjects were/are disenfranchised because of t heir isolation from the material resources of the nation Additionally, neo colonial and imperialist sociopolitical structures that continue to promote Eurocentrism contribute to the social marginalizatio n of black subjects. F or Holland, the paradigm of to include their material disenfr anchisement (17). She contends that the concept of 17). As a result, Holland form and negotiate subjectivity despite their lack of material wealth. She develops her concept of the space e space of death is important in the creation of meaning and consciousness, nowhere more so than in Holland 4). individuals can Like their enslaved ancestors, postemanicpated and postcolonial Jamaican blacks occupy rmation of their cultural identity through rituals such as Nine Night. This formation of cultural identity is libratory and empowering for the socially marginalized Jamaicans. Slave Wake Rituals in Jamaica expression of a distinct vernacular culture which was created with African and European

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13 religious, linguistic and musical elements and is represented in the Nine Night ceremony 5 These communities were imagined through formed kinship with other slaves and ancestors and the creation of an indigenous folk culture. From the perspective of the colonizer, the black slaves were commodity objects which, in many respects, rendered them dead. Exploring the concept of death within the institution of slavery, Orlando Patterson asserts that since they were powerless and alienated from hed to the margins of society, they experienced a type of death. In occupying this space of death, the black slaves of Jamaica developed an intimacy with death and this intimacy facilitated resistance 6 Vincent Brown argues that in response to the colon spirits of t The slaves resisted complete objectification by performing sacral practices, involving the dead, which included ancestral worship, spirit possession and wake rituals. Historian Mary Turner 5 Rock It Come Over: The Folk Music of Jamaica provides extensive research into the folk music of Jamaica from the work songs of the slaves, secular and spiritual music. She provides primary sources such as ane cdotes and lyrics to traditional folk music accompanied by an explanation of their historical basis and cultural significance. Lewin makes the claim that the establish vital links with [their Afr ican forebears] and give succeeding generations the opportunity to experience a measure of slaveholders who, for example, allowed slaves to sing songs in ord work environment. Chants and songs in Jamaican folk language enabled the slaves to communicate, codify their communication, and even mock the overseers (Lewin 56). 6 In his performance theories, Fred Moten argues that resistanc e is integral to black

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14 also argues that ancestral worship empowered Jamaican slaves and allowed some degree of resistance against the brutalization of colonial slavery: amid the terrors generated by forced migration and the barbarities of plantation discipline. The beliefs they formulated, utilizing concepts embedded in their consciousness formed in their African homelands, reordered their universe, regulated their village communities, and empowered their overt and cove rt resistance to slave labor systems. (28) and conducted elaborate burial cere monies at the graveside of their deceased ancestors. The intimacy with death is evidenced through these rit uals. Thus wake rituals were important cultural practices that were essential to slave ontology. Therefore, even though the slaves were socially dead as Patterson contends, they were able to resist complete ontological death and negotiate subjectivity through kinship formation. Patterson asserts tionships were never sociopolitical system of the colonial authority, slaves only existed through their masters. However, slaves subverted this master/slave dialectic by establ ishing kinship relationships and performing wake rituals. Patterson explicitly cites wake rituals as helping to facilitate and maintain the (198) Even within Patterson social death, he notes that funerary ceremonies conducted by slaves were based on the West African belief that they would be reunited with dead ancestors (198). The Jamaican folk culture of the slaves included the wake rituals

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15 derived from West African b elief systems. The development of an indigenous folk culture that resisted European dominant cultur spiritual thievery une Roberts defines as of native interiority by c 7 The wake rituals were emblematic of African ancestral lineage. The dislocated slaves negotiated subjectivity through these wake rituals b y re membering the African ancestry that the colonial project attempted to African ancestors. Magical Superstructure and Moral Order: The Cosmology of Jamaican Folk The r e membered spiritual ancestors became part of an imagined universal spiritual forces, including the ancestral living (Austin Broos 6). In Jamaica, this cosmology which was constituted of spirits and terrifying myths that are so prolific in underdeveloped societies as inhibitions for his aggressiveness [such as] malevolent spirits who emerge every time you put one foot The magical and supernatural can be observed in dance and possession rituals (Fanon 20 ). The black Jamaican slaves communicated and interacted with the spirits and duppies during spirit possession, which were integral components of wake rituals. 7 This is the theoretical basis for her analysis of the sacral aspects of Jamaican folk culture used

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16 For Fanon, folk rituals allowed the colonized a space where they could let out the pent up vi olence instigated by colonial brutality. Even though Fanon doubts these rituals can be effective in the struggle for liberation (19), he acknowledges that creating these folk myths were important to coping with the brutality of colonialism and that these terrifying real : In scaring me, the atmosphere of myths and magic operates like an undeniable reality. In terrifying me, it incorporates me into the traditions and history of my land and ethnic group, but at the same time I am reassured and granted a civil status, an identification The secret sphere in underdeveloped countries is a collective sphere that falls exclusively within the realm of magic. (18) 8 the formation of a cultural identity and in form subjective negotiation by the disenfranchised people. ic, the magical superstructure developed by the colonized in the colonial settin g is characteristic of a ease diagnosed by Fanon (18). By was cultivated through these rituals 9 For the slaves, cultural practices s uch as wake ritua ls create d community, negotiate d subjectivity, and heal ed the physic violence inflicted on them by the brutal colonial slave system. As a foundational Jamaican (re)production of cultural identity, subjective negotiation became integrated into some of the earliest organized belief systems 8 Partha identification of an inner developed by nati ve people that contrasts to the outer material domain dominated by the colonial authority. He develops this concept of inner/outer domain to describe the culture of anticolonial nationalisms. 9 Writing about the value of culture for resistance, Amilcar Ca an element of resistance to foreign domination lies in the fact that culture is the vigorous manifestation of the ideological plane of the physical and historical reality of the society that is dominated or to be dominat religious belief systems that developed which enabled resistance.

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17 created by black Jamaican slaves : Myalism and Obeah was centered around community rituals including spirit possession and Myal dance, which honored the African 212). Myalism held that place to mark the transition of the duppy (Besson & Chevannes 212). Obeah was similar to Myalism, but was based on sorcery and was essentially an individualized process. After violent slave rebellions were instigated by spiritual practices such as Myalism and Obeah slave codes were enacted that limited burial practices banned informal gatherings, and required planters to teach slaves Christianity (Turner 27). This resulted in the spread of colonial missionary efforts which sought to civilize and Christianize the blacks, elemen ts of this African belief system were combined with Christianity and this led to the development of Black Baptists and the According to the Encyclopedia of slave resistance and rebellion some social activities of these Africanized belief systems such Rodriguez 356). s religions that included Christian and African elements. W hile Myalism was the foundation for funerary rituals, the revivalist cults such as Because of missionary eff orts and the creation of creole religious systems, an intricate The revival movements that included

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18 Pocomania and Kumina spread mostly among peasant blacks and were repudiated by affluent, Christian Jamaica ns who accepted Eurocentric values and Broos 11). its carnivalesque ae sthetic, it also sought to stifle in Jamaica an intense eudemonic of freedom which both transformed and re West African and Jamaican practices tha t developed (such as Nine Night) combined Christian and African elements, but they would also conflict with the structure of the European religion (Austin Broos 42). Diane Austin Broos defines the eudemonic as a state of content autonomy become Jamaican, that is antipathetic to a Protestant Christian world Postemanicapted blacks were free to express their eudemonic worshipping events such as Nine Night. The spread of missionaries in Jamaica also resulted in a re imagining of the magical superstructure. While Myalism featured African deity and ancestral worship, revivalist cults and black Christians retraditionalized the Christian and Afr ican belief systems 10 The spiritual world imagined by the Jamaicans became inhabited by biblical figures. George Eaton Simpson indicates that, for Jamaicans, the spiritual world was stament prophets, 10 Early scholars defined revival cults as syncretic mixtures between European (Christian) and African belief systems. How productive framework than syncretism or postcolonial hybridity for thinking about the encounter Amer ican practices, I want to reappropriate the term to describe Christian components included in Nine Night ceremonies.

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19 religion by Jamaicans. While affluent Jamaicans tended to privilege European Christian Eurocentric traditions of the dominant class and (re)produce the rituals created by their ancestors. As a result, Nine Night ceremonies are spa ces where a retraditionalization becomes Jamaican while bearing as part of its Jamaicanness ranked folk renderings of its origins and its Re Traditionalizi ng Wake Rituals as Nine Night African worldview (Austin Broos 7). In most ceremonies, bibles verses are recited, Nine Night represents a (re)production of Jamaican cultural identity and this makes it a compelling example of particular place and time, from a history and a culture which is specific also recognizes the si gnificance of retelling the past and demonstrates how re membering in forms the present cultural identity of

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20 sense of the trauma of the present. It is such a memory of history o f race and racism, colonialism and the question of cultural identity ). Nine Night was such a form of the essentalizing Otherness of the col onial and neocolonial projects. In (re)producing cultur al identity through Nine Night, the disenfranchised poor in Jamaica interact with ancestors The concept of Nine Night is based on the imagined magical superstructure because participants in the ceremon y endeavor to satisfy the spirit of the departed. In her anthropological investigations on Jamaican Nine Night, Zora Neale Hurston appeasing the spirit of the dead lest they do the enact communal healing, but they try to bring balance to their world. Lopold Senghor declares that African onto universe from the grain of sand to the ancestors is a network of [ complementary ] existing to being forming a unified community, Senghor argues that African aestheti cs was central to this West Africa, the Nine Nig world of the living and dead. A central component of the Nine Night ceremony is spirit possession. Jamaicans believed that spirits had the power to impact the life of the living. The spirit

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21 communicates with the living at the Nine Night and sometimes instructs them (Simpson 330). It was believed that the spirit of the deceased would transcend the world of the living nine days after death and t he Nine Night was practiced to appease the spirit of the dead. George Eaton S impson writes: on the ninth night after death and, if it is financially possible, lower class Jamaicans anthropological observations o f Simpson and Hurston, poor, black Jamaicans were the ones who performed the Nine Night. Hurston observes that many of the participants considered part of their heritag e (39). Despite their poverty, Hurston notes that the nd the dead man rode like a pharaoh his rags how, despite the revelry, the black peasants viewed Nine Night with ceremonial importance. Nine Night is partly an aesthe tic ritual that is practiced to mark the passing of a spirit from the world of the living. I n accordance to the West African basis of the ritual, i t In Subjectivity and aesthetics in the Jamaican nine night validated through the human relationships created in the nine night [and] out of this process, the soul of the dead person achieves a kind of rhythmic materiality within the ritual event, an

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22 experien ce there arises the intuitive possibility that subjectivity may achieve [a] sought The localization of the Nine Night ceremony is not only observed on a geographic level, but also on a subjective level. In metaphorical, social philosophy which uncovers within social experience powerful religious Even though Nine Night is usually perfor med for a single dead relative, the ceremony is a celebration and joins together many people for the purpose of communal healing. In hi s ethnographic analysis of Nine N ight as central to all Nine Night performances participants lies in its capacity to incorporate [subjective narratives and evocations of personal experience] and to refra me [these] in reciprocal terms as a mutual celebration Night ritual and there is less of a reliance Wardle argues nvestigations into Jamaican religion do take greater account of both the individualistic, person centered, character of Jamaican religious expression as well According to Wardle, Jamaicans do not rely on religious leaders to instruct them about religion. He claims that

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23 clas Nine Night is a space where individuals from a ll religious backgrounds form community and celebrate life (169) Even though religious expression may be individualistic, events portrayed in the ceremony serve as a historical re memberin tradition and ritual ceremonies; on the other it is deeply ingrained racial memory, For the slaves and regulated their village communities, and empowered their overt and covert resistance to descendants of co ntinued to experience racism and economic disenfranchisement. past of colonial slavery. They were still under the control of colonial authority and suffered from a peasant labor system. These blacks continued the cultural practice of wake rituals in the form of Nine Night which enabled them to (re)connect with their enslaved ancestors and enact communal healing. Nine Night continues to occur in postcolonial Jamaica and is practiced by a majority of blacks who, to large extent, remain impoverished and disenfranchised. Contemporary Nine Night celebrations are still sites of communal gathering and healing and ancestral worship.

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24 CHAPTER 2 (RE)PRODUCING JAMAIC AN CULTURAL IDE NTITY THROUGH NINE N IGHT IN HO IN THE BONE 11 An E cho in the B one: Nine Night as Jamaican N ational C ult ure An Echo in the Bone demonstrates how Nine Night serves as a foundation of national culture in Jamaica. Scott p articipates in the (re)production of this national culture by using the ritual as the basis for the play. The play takes place in the postemancipation context of 1937 in a rural Jamaican village near the Blue Mountains at a Nine Night ceremony organized b of the living. Crew is believed to have murdered Mr. Charles, who was a white plantation estate owner, and then drowned in a river. It is unclear whether Crew tried to escape or committed suicide. Using spirit possession, the play moves between key mome nts in Ja maican history from the Middle P assage slavery in Jamaica, to different time periods in the 1930s. By recalling the past of their enslaved ancestors, the participants of the Nine Night give a voice to their ancestors who were denied participation in colonial slave society. Th rough spirit possession, th e ceremony becomes a space for enacting familial and communal healings f or the participants: familial healing by settling the conflict between Sonson and Jacko and communal healing for the black peasant characters in the village who resolve the circumstances surrounding the murder of Mr. Charles by Crew. Both Sonson and Jacko were in love with Brigit and Sonson was agitated that Brigit choose Jacko. Through his wits, Jacko is able to convince Sonson (possessed by 11 The phrase the poverty of blackness, is borrowed from the novel Nervous Conditions I (re)appropriate the phrase he re to refer to the interlocking sociopolitical markers of race and class that in

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25 Crew) to come down from the roof and not jump. The two reconcile and the play concludes in ritual celebration. T ropean cultural configurations. The final scene reveals how characters navigate a politics of moral order in everyday life and, comparativ ely, the aesthetics of everyday life includes cultural practices such as Nine Night where these politics are debated, discussed an d performed Scott implies that the sacral practices as part of the national culture of Jamaica like Nine Night can provide some physic healing to the nation of Jamaica. Like many postcolonial nations who received political independence in the 1960s, Jamaica was embroiled in a moment of postcolonial crisis that included political violence and economic hardships. Produced in p ostcolonial, postindependence Jamaica, the play economic enslavement is physically represented in the set of the play by the central hangs from the roof and dominates the The chain indicates that the marginalization of the black subjects is directly linked to the institution of slavery, continues through the 1930s when the play is set (a period where national consciousness was being formed) and throughout the postcolonial period of the early 1970s in J amaica where Scott is writing from. with death Brigit questions Rachel about the relevance of having a Nine Night for a

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26 make the dead stay dead? Is 78). Rachel retorts that the ceremony is significant because it allows her to pay respect to her husband and evinces a re membering of C ghost with whatever respect I have to give him. You think you can wipe out thirty y ears Through Nine Night, the space of death becomes a site for black performance of life in death. Despite their material poverty, the characters maintain the cultural currency inherited from their enslaved ancestors who developed a creole cosmology constructed wit h African and C hristian elements that in formed their world view. In the epigraph, one of the main characters in the play, Rachel, proclaims that value in this ceremony because it enable s them to honor their departed ancestors and restore order to the world of the livi ng. In the postemanci pated society, the black The play features a Jamaican folk cu culture is structured around the politics and moral order of peasant life. Central to the production of consciousness and (re)production of cultural identity by Jamaican folk is morality. In her study of Ja maican Pentecostalism entitled Jamaica Genesis: Religion and the Politics of Moral Order, Diane J. Austin Broos examines how Jamaicans for her book is based on the Fo ucau ldian notions about how impact the negotiation of subjectivity. In describing the oppressive power of politics

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27 Foucault notes that politics pervades everyday life. Thus, as a commonplace practice and a space of subjective nego ti ation, Nine Night can re present a politics of the people. Austin (Austin Broos 11) 12 Restoring Moral Order by Re Membering Crew T he traditional cultural practice of Nine Night, whi ch is not discussed in Austin Broos book, participates in this politics of moral order and Jamaicans use the ceremony to (re)produce their cultural identity. The rebellious ancestral slaves used the politics of moral order to determine that they should fi ght for freedom. Meanwhile, their descendants continue to resist colonial and imperialistic authorities by negotiating subjectivity form the subjective negotiation of the characters in the play are predominantly race, class and religiosity (Austin Broos 12). Using Nine Night as the conceptual framework fo r the play enables Scott to re present an d r e member a history of the black peasants that is a critical re vision of the colonial historical narrative. Crew is a metonymic character and represents the common black Jamaican ners like Mr. 12 through modes of representa orders of governance. This focus on moral order as well as symbolic mediation carries with it the post ather is the product of intersubjective experience that carries with it negotiations of values practice,

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28 Charles are able to thrive in the rural areas because they have access to the needed resources. family and own land. Land was important to the postemancipated black su bjects a colonized people, the most essential value, because it is the most meaningful, is first and foremost the land: the land which must provide bread, and naturally, d the land for the benefit of his family. He is angered when Rachel suggests he move to s great house. Crew asserts on the same land he owns and it enables him to provi the line from the ground I am nothing. I am nobody!...It is my birthright that says I am central conflict of the play, the murder, occurs when Crew confronts Mr. Charles who diverted water which prevented Crew an d other black farmers from yielding crops. By diverting the water, Mr. Charles was cutting off Crew from his lifeline, taking away enacted by spirit possession suggests that Mr. Charles, who lusts after Rachel, did this purposely to

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29 the land, thus robbing him of an ancestral history. By diverting the water and making Crew and his family destitute, Mr. Charles is affirms his dematerialization. Working within a Marxist discourse, Fred Moten : labor to labor power. That is to say that value is extracted from the ground potential to produce value. This transference and transformation i s also a dematerialization again, a transition from the body, more fully the person, of the laborer to a potential that operates in excess of the body (Moten 251). compatri representative of the marginalization of the black subjects who were impoverished and disenfranchised. Thus, like their enslaved ancestors, the blacks in 1930s Jamaica were relegated to the space of death. Nevertheless, the Nine Night ceremony shows how c ommunal healing. According to the politics of moral order evinced in this play during the Nine Night, the murder of Mr. Charles must be placed in context with a history of physic trauma and remaking of individual stories reverses the annihilated consequences of murderous confrontation. The (qtd Bada 91). During the Nine Night ceremony, Crew possesses h is son Sonson and

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30 reveals how when he confronted Mr. Charles, a physical altercation ensued. Mr. Charles condemned Crew for having the audacity to come up to the front door of the Great House asking Mr. Charles for the favor of diverting water to the land. Mr. Charles tried to kick Crew and Crew retaliated by chopping Mr. Charles with the machete. To 7). A national healing is expressed because the class conflict between the black peasantry and plantocracy in Jamaica becomes discernable through the ceremony. The murder was not a random act of violence and the Nine Night ceremony enables historical conte xtualization. Crew remarks that his death was a killing and from th to the spiritual world. They provide him with a clean shirt and water to cleanse himself. he blood is representative of an optimistic future not dominated by murderous violence. The ceremony also serves as communal healing and celebration not only though the gathering of friend and family in celebration, but through the easing of tensions betwe en Revivals and Re T The post s and its biblical pantheon of prophets were consistent with highly localized e (Austin Broos 23).

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31 l world imagined by the Jamaicans became inhabited by biblical figures. Rachel, invoking Through this remark, Rachel is likening Crew to Christ and he is considered a martyr. resurrection for his spirit. With limited access to institutions of the state, these ith a creole cosmology. Religious rite was a response to suffering and a means to a better Rattler the drummer plays a central role in the play because the drumming signals possession scenes. Drumming is identified as a major c omponent of most revivalist ceremonies. In another scene that includes retraditionalized Christian practices, Madam invokes the name of Christ and anoints the head of Dreamboat in the symbol of a cross when he was possessed by a violent spirit (82). After this event, Rachel enters the barn scene demonstrates that the characters are perhaps part of a revivalist cult. Rachel operates as the ceremonial leader of the Nine N ight ceremony and research into revivalists cults indicate that women often assumed leadership roles. In the beginning of the play, Rachel sings what appears to be a gospel refrain days and Christopher Balme argues that the scene where Dreamboat becomes possessed and is revitalized by being anointed with oil in

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32 by syncretic or revivalists cults: This scene demonstrates how Christian symbols are reinterpreted in a way typical of syncretic cults. The candles, the sign of the cross, and the possession such traditional symbols are redefined and used as directly efficacious and not just as symbolic devices against the dange rs of the spiritual world. (103) The signify a fend off un This reveals that although they were denied access to material resources of the colonial society, the peasants used symbolic tools available to t hem as a means of empowerment. Nine Night is a spac e of spiritual empowerment where spirits of dead ancestors are imagined to be part of a magical superstructure that includes Christian spirits. The Nine Night while evolved from African belief systems, includes retraditionalized Christian elements which p rovides characters with a space to express a distinct religiosity in a colonial society dominated by Christianity While many scholars have demonstrated the cultural significance of intend to explore the important historical, economic and political critiques provided by the play. The murder of Mr. Charles is not just an act of racial violence that re calls a history of violent colonial encounters between blacks and w hites, but it was also illustrative of postemancipation and postcolonial economic violence. In the play, the

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33 white planter class, like the slave masters before them, continued to control the fate of the black subjects despite emancipation. This is evidence d by Mr. Charles who is able to divert water from the river which made Crew destitute. The rural peasants, portrayed by the national authorities Through the Nine Nig ht, the black farmers attempt to (re)produce a cultural identity that in forms their present and is based on the colonial past. Emphasizing how the space of death is inhabited by blacks from different time periods is integral to the understanding of Scot ontological and (im)material condition of the peasants. Each scene from the re membered historical past portrays some form of economic enslavement. the slaves were influenced by the indigenous folk culture inherited from ancestral slaves and continue to (re)produce subjectivity in relation to continued oppression and hardships. These descendants now perform the subjectivity of blackness and through t his performance express a shared The cultural identity of the black peasants is intersect ed with the racial marker of the black Jamaicans in the 1930s see themselves as poor black subjects. The emancipated black Jamaicans were still colonized and many would be subjected to a perpetual state of peasantry. Austin Broos gives a historical accou nt of

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34 Jamaica after emancipation and argues that the post emancipation period i n Jamaica ed as a curse derived from colonial experience. To be black, poor and landless, or cultivated at a near where they discuss the economic shortcomings of their postemancipation life, the older of economic oppor tunity. However, one of the younger characters feel so? You skin white, then Mass P? To them you is still dirt, nothing you can say will peasants. Economic well being is equated with whiteness. Historian Walter Rodney as a product of the continued colonial project whites and poverty with blacks is not accidental (19). during the 1930s, the act of spirit possession characters travel through various temporal periods. As the characters search for an answers and attempt to grieve and reconc ile the murder of Mr. Charles and the disappearance of Crew, the play imparts an important pedagogical lesson. In order to fully comprehend the trauma of the present in the postcolonial and postemancipation period: Verbal explanations will not suffice. B ecause the answers lie deep in racial

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35 past, not just the immediate past but the history of an oppressed people in order to find meaning in the madness. To make this journey back i nto the communal psyche, author Scott has summoned a traditional death ritual, the Nine Night ceremony, in whose observance is compressed the actual and supernatural, the past and present, the living and dead. (Hill 10) Characters are transported through v arious historical periods and settings including: on, which was commonplace in early Nine Night ceremonies, characters transform into people from the past. Spirit possession enables the characters to assume different roles 13 possession [can] be seen as a means of unlocki ng the racial memory of a cultural the perspective of the black subjects (Hill 11). The play takes place about 100 years after the emancipation from slavery, present by the colonial authority. Arguably, this time period is when blacks in Jamaica start ed to develop a national consciousness. In the context of the play, Scott seems to suggest that as the nation moved towards independence, the colonial history needed to be member In 1930s Jamaicans started to evoke Black Nationalism spurred by Garveyites and Rastafarians. The characters in the play Additionally, i n 1938, a year after the setting of this play, there were nationwide labor 13 possession becomes a kind of paradigm, a ritual equivalent, for the modern convention of role

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36 movements and violent protests that featured class and racial struggles. These protests Even though it was a localized ritual, the cultu ral practice of Nine Night enabled the black subjects to form a cultural identity that resisted colonial authority. Emphasizing the political edge of cultural rituals, in Anti Imperialist Theatrical Forms in the Anglophone Caribbean theatre critic Elaine inherently theatrical and inherently political, moving towards liberating a community from the fear which would assume their acqu iescence to a brutal and hostile governing as a site of resistance, but as a site where black subjectivity is negotiated and communal healing occurs. Thus, the Nine Night is part of a national culture of Jamaica because it is a ritual that is practiced by the majority poor blacks and the (re)production of the ceremony serves as a liberating practice. In his exploration of black subjectivity, Scott de monstrates the e and suggests that there was a collective, national consciousness developing among the peasantry in Jamaica before the country gained its political independence. These black subjects who are often en grave d in writt en colonial history as objects are able to give an oral account and actually perform their collective his story. The characters are rural black Jamaican peasants whose cultural identity was in formed by the magical superstructure. Due to the religious wor ldview of black peasants, it is no coincidence that the focal point of the play is the Nine Night ceremony. They try to re

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37 member past events in order to reconcile a violent act of the present. In (re)producing cultural identity, the play re tells the col onial past from the perspective of the black peasants. (97 98). Juneja contends that th e Nine Night ceremony setting for the play which of the history Scott is making or remaking because it signals at the outset that this history is a possession of the bl ack people and very different from the sanctioned es a space where the blacks re possess used in the play was the refer the African slaves in Jamaica (Scott 92). The book was referenced by a white woman who came to observe slaves being transported by ship in a scene from the Middle Passage There are not only direct v iolent acts, but symbolic violence inflicted on the slaves in the form of the written account. According to Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London Bryan Edwards was a Jamaican planter and politician who published a well respected History of th e West Indies in 1793. He articulated the planter view concerning the value of the West Indian colonies to Great Britain, and opposed the abolition of the Through the Nine Night ceremony and spirit possessi on, the characters t el combat the symbolic violence of the colonial historical record.

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38 In the play, the spiritually p ossessed characters were transformed to this scene from the past. After the woman reads a passage from the book regarding the docility of between slaves (Scott 92). A white m an tries to stop them, but the slaves do not understand him. The white man cuts out the tongue of one of the slaves. The mute drummer Rattler was possessed by the slave whose tongue was violently chopped. This scene reveals how the traumatic silencing o f the slave from the past is directly embodied by Rattler. Rattler can only communicate through his drumming. Through spirit possession, the characters discover that the violence of the past was a precursor to the violence of the present. The character of Rattler represents the continued silence of the black peasants, however the Nine Night gives them a space to speak and the ceremony because it initiates spirit posse ssions. Later in the play, a Maroon proclaims you taught us your tongue Busha. All the tribes coming together under one language. The word is freedom, and one day the whole country going to stand up and shout it collective history. The play is written in dialect and the Jamaicans become active thereby resisting the colonial narrative and forming a cultural identity of their own. Nine Night is a distinct cultural space where Jamaicans can communicate with departed ancestors through spirit possession.

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39 Regarding the economic condition of the peasant blacks, the play exposes how the black laborers in the 1930s were still disenfranchised much like their enslaved ancestors were. In lamenting the condition of peasant colonial farmers in respect to lament s : You cut down the cane for a lifetime, every year you drag the sweetness out of the ground with you bare hands and pray the next season will be thing to show!... And then they plough you back into the canes, and nobody remember how strong you was. And when they squeeze the canes nobody knows how much blood it takes to make the rum hot and sweet (Scott 86). system financed by slave labor. Postemancipation peasant black farmers were still tied to the land, much of whi ch was owned by white planters. According to Austin Broos, and still had only limited representation. These Jamaicans faced events that involved the emergence of nation state structures but few small peasant holdings, and the old Great represent the main crop harvested during slavery. Under the colonial system, there was a disparity between the rural areas and the e underdevelopment and in a state of peasantry. Fanon writes:

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40 We know that colonial domination gave preferential treatment to certain a whole...Colonialism almost never exploits the entire country. It is content with extracting natural resources and exporting t hem to the metropolitan industries thereby enabling a specific sector to grow relatively wealthy, while the rest of the colony continues, or rather sinks, in to underdevelopment and poverty (106). ers in the play live in a rural from the state structures in the town 14 This is characteristic of how during this period, these black subjects were to move to town for jobs, while others, like Crew, express discontentment about leaving the rural land for the violent town. In a society that was becoming increasingly modernized, rural farming was no rming instrument, the machete, white land owners were starting to use machines. After the murder of Mr. Charles, P observes that Some of the young characters like Stone respond saying that they will travel to town to find work since rural farming them go into the town to buy their goods, nobody in the market to take the provisions off The characters have difficulty buying goods and sometimes try to barter ground provisions. Throughout the play, the currency of the whites is juxtaposed to that of the blacks. 14 As I will argue later, the characters in the play can be considered descendants of the Maroons who were free slaves that fought the British.

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41 blacks, however whites controlled the material wealth in the colonial society so the black peasants often had to rely on other forms of material currency. Rachel tries to exchange ground provisions for a bill she owes while Madam reminds Dreamboat to give her some of his hunted game to repay her for feeding him (Scott 96 98). At the end of this scene, i n the street, cries are heard promoting produce such as fruits and fish (Scott 98). The play then shifts into a scene from the past in an conducted of negotiating the sale of a slave girl. The sale of the fresh, virgin bodies valued by the white slavemasters is juxtaposed to the sale of fresh produce by black market vendors which are valued by the white planter class. Interestingly, the sale is being conducted by a black sla ve who speaks standard English. This slave represents a colonial mimic who is culpable in the exploitation of the women. Arguably, Scott implicates both blacks and whites in the brutal colonial history. In fact, the central act of the play is a black m an, Crew, murdering the white landowner Mr. Charles By shifting to scenes from the past which enables historical contextualization, Scott reveals how both blacks and whites are both victims and perpetrators of violence: in [providing] a coherent explanation of how Crew cam e to murder Mr. Charles and what this means: instead of seeing the act as a single criminal brutality, we see black and white locked into a violent history, one killing the ry 247). The complex history of trauma and violence re sults in an equally complex re neg otiation of black subjectivity. Through spirit possession, the traumas of slavery and the colonial past are brought to the forefront.

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42 Thus, in the play, Nine Night is a space where a healing of this past occurs for all individuals involved in the brutalities of colonialism. Another scene shift occurs into the woods where two Maroons encounter an 15 Busha curses them and tries to (Scott 103). During the exchange, it is revealed that money can only be spent in the to wn and there was a bounty out for Maroons that ventured out of the hills, thus the money was of no use to the Maroons. They wanted weapons instead, knives or guns, from the white man which was useful for them in their fight for freedom. This scene takes place in 1833 about a year before the British emancipated lineage and they want the freedom to grow and sell their crops. In the scene described above, the Maroon r Bushas, while t like their Maroon predecessors It is important to note that in this scene, the Maroons do not kill Busha. At the end of the scene, one Maroon reveals to Busha that he spared his life beca use : M count up the rich and poor, that is why I give you a chance. Maybe you will 15 fought wars with British troops and gained the right to form independent communities. According to the Dictionary of Jamaican Engli

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43 know more then and not talk about black and white so loud. And if you e gun and the knife will decide who is right. (106) an important scene that demonstrates the impending severity of economic inequality. This is an important tra nscendent theme because the postcolonial period where Scott was writing from was marred by poverty and violence like the postemanicaption period was. The Maroon implies that when the country is free, violent class warfare will take precedence over racial differences. the play refers back to the growing discontentment and frustration experienced by rural peasants. Crew who owned land was opposed going to town, where m any went to seek jobs, because he saw it as a violent place. Conversely, Stone, who says Crew no chance against the white landowners who owned large quantities of lan d. Not only were the rich white patrons going to town to buy their crop, but the rural farmers could not compete with the white landowners. Stone says: I watch how the big land owners they corner up with their own and sell the sugar back to us for four times what it cost us to raise. I know. I see inside of the office sometimes, and the big house that they build from two hundred years ago, when all of us worked the land for nothing, like animals. You think things change any? (Scott 109) lived in a n imperialist economy where their labor was not valued. As Stone suggest, not much has changed since the days of slavery since the black subjects were still disenfranchised a hanging chain used as a stage prop.

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44 (Re)Production of Postcolonial Jamaican Theatre Scott i s also endeavoring to negotiate a Jamaican theatrical subjectivity in the 1970s. Scott sought to develop a distinct theater tradition in Jamaica that privileged folk rituals over European forms of performance. The play was first produced in 1974 at the U niversity Drama Society in Jamaica (Hill 14). Joseph Roach, who borrows the title of where he discusses performance in relation to death explains that the play is part of a tradition of Caribbean theatrical performan ce. Referring to the work of theater critic Errol Hill, Roach writes : In the epilogue to his path breaking Jamaican Stage, 1655 1900: Profile of a Colonial Theatre (1992) [Errol Hill] places An Echo in the Bone in the complex historical context of Caribb ean performance traditions, including amateur and professional productions of Shakespeare in colonial Kingston and Afrocentric spirit world rituals such as Nine Night. Like Hamlet An Echo in the Bone dramatizes the cultural politics of memory, particularl y as they are realized through communications betwe en the living and the dead. (34) traditional Western plays like Hamlet which ends in the death of most characters, catastrophe so powerfully present in the Western drama, however, spirit world ce remonies, celebrations of the cycle of death and life, tend to place catastrophe in the thereby enabling them to determine a future of possib ility. play encounter a great deal of suffering, but are able to reconcile the violent past

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45 through the Nine Night ritual. In re gards to the ethical universal the play suggests that racial retribution is not a viable solution an (Savory 241). The suffering not only includes a present state of peasantry for the black subjects, but a violent colonial past. A peaceful future requires an honest telling of the Combating the cultural imperialism of the West, Scott recalls the significance of indigenous rituals such as Nine Night and envisions a type of cultural the atre that utilizes these rituals 16 According to Crow and Banfeild who theorize about post colonial theater, post colonial dramatists revert to traditional, indigenous rituals in order to challenge conventional Western theatrical practices and reawaken a c ultural past 14). Even though theatrical plays are often considered to be a Western cultural practice, Crow and Banefield assert that post colonial playwrights are not just mimic men, but, through the use of distinct cu ltural mimetic representation, but the dangerous arena of spiritual confrontation and rn theater is not adequate to represent the post (or, sometimes, discovery) of indigenous performance traditions has often served to 13). As a post colonial dramati st, and resisting traditional Western aesthetics. 16 Cultural Imperialism

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46 artistic production that does n part of this tradition of Caribbean theatre that used Africanized manner and it wa s produced at a time when the postcolonial bourgeoisie was conducting extensive study int o African based practices such as revivalism and obeah: historians, and students of folklore as slave culture and a seminal part of an emergent but undervalued African or the formation of colonial and postcolonial society (Rodriguez 357). Scott sets his play in a rural setting which features peasant farmers, who are often left out of the national narrative. Scott is partly presenting a critique of th economic inequality which perhaps implicates the postcolonial national bourgeoisie. He seems to be trying to re member a violent colonial history and a postemanci pation period paralyzed by poverty in order to make sense of a moment of crisis in 1970s Jamaica that suffered from political turmoil and economic hardships. The play relies on in formed and continued to (re)produce black subjectivity. Conclusion As demonstrated in this project, religion is central to the (re)production of Jamaican cultural identity and the (re)production of Nin e Night continues to demonstrate the importance of the sacral in the politics of everyday life. play, Nine Night is an important element of Jamaican national culture Living in a society haunted by a brutal past of slavery and col onialism, a majority of the

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47 postcolonial blacks in Jamaica continue to be socially marginalized and excluded from access to the wealth and power of the state. The y are relegated to the space of death like their ancestors and their intimacy with death cont inues to thrive through Jamaican practices such as Nine Night. Revivalism and African derived belief systems that enable black subje ctivity and resistivity. Thus, spirituality and death continue to be that in form indigenous Jama ican imagined communities.

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48 LIST OF REFERENCES Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities New York: Verso, 1991. Print. Appiah, Kwame Anthony. "The Postcolonial and the Postmodern." In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture. Oxford: Oxfo rd University Press, 1992. 137 158. Print. Austin Broos, Diane J. Jamaica Genesis: Religion and the Politics of Moral Orders Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997. s The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association 33.3 (Autumn, 2000 Winter, 2001): 86 93. Jstor Web. 10 Dec. 2009. Balme, Christopher. Decolonizing the Stage Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Print. Bes son, Jean. Martha Brae's Two Histories. Chapel Hill: Unive rsity of North Carolina Press, 2002. Print. Creativity Debate: The Case of New West Indian Guide 70.3 (1996): 209 228. Web. 30 Mar. 2 009. Bhaba, Homi K. Locations of Culture London: Routledge, 1994. Print. Slavery & Abolition 24.1 (April 2003): 24 53. Ingenta Connect Web. 07 Jan. 2010. Cabral, Ami Colonial Discourse and Post Colonial Theory Ed. Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994. 53 65. Print. Campbell, Horace. Rasta and Resistance. Trenton: Africa World Press, 1987. Print. Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large New York: Pal grave McMillan, 2004. 231 251. Print. Cooper, Carolyn. Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender, and Jamaican Popular Culture Durham: Duke University Press, 1995. Print. Chatterjee, Partha. The Nation and its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. Print.

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49 Crow, Brian and Banefield, Ch ris. An introduction to post colonial theatre Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Print. Dawes, Kwame. Natural Mysticism. Leeds: Pepal Tree Press, 1999. Print. Messy Beginnings: Postcoloniality and E arly American Studies Eds Malini Johar Schueller and Edw ard Watts. Piscataway: Rutgers University Press, 2003. 29 44. Print. Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press, 1963. A Critique of the Sign and the Signifying Critical Inquiry 9 (1983): 685 723. Jstor Web. 15 Mar. 2009. Hall, Stuart. "Cultural Identity and Diaspora". Colonial Discourse and Post Colonial Theory Ed. Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman. New Yo rk: Columbia University Press, 1994. 392 404. Print. Hill, Errol, ed. Plays for Today Essex: Pearson Education Limited, 1985. Print. Holland, Sharon Patricia. Raising the Dead: Readings of Death and (Black) Subjectivity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2000. Print. Hurston, Zora Neale. Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica. New York: Perennial Library, 1990. Print. Ivy, Marilyn. Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan. Chicago: Universtiy of Chicago Press, 1995. Print ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 23.1 (January 1992): 97 114. University of Calgary Press. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. Krupat, Arnold. "Postcolonialism, Ideology, a nd Native American Literature." Postcolonial Theory and the United States Race, Ethinicity, and Literature .. Amritjit Singh and Peter Schmidt, eds. University of Mississippi Press, 2000. 73 94. Print. Leach, MacEdward. "Jamaican Duppy Lore". The Journ al of American Folklore 74.293. (1961): 207 215. Jstor. Web. 12 Dec. 2009. Lewin, Olive. Rock It Come Over: The Folk Music of Jamaica. Kingston: University of West Indies Press, 2000. Print. Moten, Fred. In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radi cal Tradition Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2003. Print.

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50 Space and Culture 11.4 (2008): 343 360. Sage Journals Online Web. 20 Mar. 2009. Moody Freeman, Julie E. Waking The Gone: Nine Night as Cultural Remembrance of a n African Heritage in Beliezean Literature." Canadian Woman Studies 23.2 (2004): 30 37. York University Libraries Web. 10 Dec. 2009. Patterson, Orlando. Slavery and Social Death. Boston: Harvard University Press, 1982. Print. Roberts, June E. Reading Erna Brodber: Uniting the Black Diaspora through Folk Culture and Religion. Connecticut: Praeger, 2006. Print. Rodney, Walter. Groundings with My Brother Chicago: Frontline Distribution Interna tional, 1969. Print. Encyclopedia of Slave Resistance and Rebellion. Vol 2. Wesport: Greenwood Press, 2007. Print. The Coloni al Caribbean in Transition: Essays on Postem ancipation Social and Cultural History. Eds Brereton, Bridget, and Kevin A. Yelvington. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1999. 26 45. Print. Imperialist Theatrical Forms in the A Imperialism and Theatre Ed. Ellen Gainor. New York: Routledge, 1995. 243 256. Print. 138. Colonia l Discours e and Post Colonial Theory Ed. Patrick Wi lliams and Laura Chrisman. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994. 27 35. Print. Simpson, George Eaton. "The Nine Night Ceremony in Jamaica." The Journal of American Folklore 70.278 (Oct. Dec. 1957): 329 33 5. Jstor Web. 12 Dec. 2009. Wardle, Huon. An Ethnography of Cosmopolitanism in Kingston, Jamaica. Wales: Edwin Milton Press, 2000. Print. --. Social Anthropology 8 (2000): 247 262 [Sub]

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51 BIO GRAPHICAL SKETCH Zahir S mall was born on the island of Jamaica, but grew up in Long Island New York He conducted undergraduate studies at Stony Brook University in New York where he majored in b iology and English. During his undergraduate tenure, he wo rked D epartment at the University of Florida. Along with his graduate studies, he also works as a teaching assistant for the University Writing Program.