Deborah Thomas on “Bodies, Bodies Everywhere: Exemplary Spectacularity as Slavery’s Legacy in Jamaica”

Event time: 
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 (All day)
Location: 
Linsly-Chittenden Hall (LC), Room 211 See map
63 High Street
Event description: 

Deborah Thomas is Associate Professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Africana Studies at University of Pennsylvania. Professor Thomas specializes and writes about the areas of nationalism; race and gender; labor migration; transnationalism and diaspora; and culture and political economy. “Bodies, Bodies Everywhere: Exemplary Spectacularity as Slavery’s Legacy in Jamaica” explored “how and why the more distant histories of imperialism and slavery that shape the spectacularity of violence in Jamaica often take a back seat within contemporary explanatory paradigms to the more immediate aspects of social reality - the metaphorical American foot that is seen to be bearing down on the rest of the world’s necks.”

Professor Thomas argued that “this is a problem because attributing the performative nature of murder in Jamaica only to U.S. influence erases particular kinds of structural continuities between the “old” and “new” imperialisms; and in doing so, obscures earlier histories of spectacular violence and what these can tell us about today’s more performative iterations of violence in Jamaica.” Needless to say, Professor Thomas’ provocations offered us critical ways of thinking about post-coloniality and violence. Her interventions were engaged by the audience with great interest.