Re-telling history: Sistren's Ida Revolt inna Jonkonnu Stylee as Neo/colonial Resistance

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Smith, Karina (2007) Re-telling history: Sistren's Ida Revolt inna Jonkonnu Stylee as Neo/colonial Resistance. Thirdspace: a journal of feminist theory and culture, 7 (1). pp. 17-36. ISSN 1499-8513


Sistren’s collectively devised production Ida Revolt inna Jonkonnu Stylee, (1985), re-tells the history of the 1938 Jamaican labour uprising from the perspective of a woman, Ida Homes, who is rumoured to have thrown the stone that instigated the altercation. The production is multilayered: firstly, it reclaims Jonkonnu as a performance form for exploring women’s issues; secondly, it focuses on women’s experiences of the 1938 riot; and, finally, it draws the audiences’ attention to economic conditions in 1980s Jamaica. In this article, I will look at the way in which Caribbean performance traditions, such as Jonkonnu and Carnival, are used as guerilla cultural resistance to quote Sylvia Wynter, against the devastating impact of the Structural Adjustment Program on Caribbean societies in the 1980s. By basing the play on a creolized performance form that developed during slavery, in conjunction with an historical moment that shaped Jamaican politics, Sistren is using the past to comment, resist and parody new forms of enslavement.

Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
Current > Division/Research > Other
Historical > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Historical > FOR Classification > 2103 Historical Studies
Historical > SEO Classification > 9501 Arts and Leisure
Keywords ResPubID13513, 1938 Jamaican labour uprising, multi-layered production, women’s issues, economic conditions – Jamaica 1980s, Caribbean performance traditions, Jonkonnu, Carnival, guerilla cultural resistance, Structural Adjustment Program on Caribbean societies - 1980s
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