Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.

2/17/2004

Review: Rastafari: Roots and Ideology

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Not the usual Fantasist’s Scroll book.

But, well worth looking into. I first got interested in Rastafarianism by way of William Gibson, who had several characters who were Dreadlocks. My ignorance of what that was all about was, well, somewhat shocking for me at the time. So, I started poking around. Quite a few years ago, I found Rastafari: Roots and Ideology by Barry Chevannes. It followed me around, unread, in a box for several years. Well, I finally read it this past week. What a shame I waited so long!
This was a very good book about the history and origins of a relatively new religion. Among other things, it was fascinating to track the birth of a new faith from its very start through the modern day. As a sociological look at a small, but growing, religious or spiritual movement, this is a great book. It is, however, a rather schollarly look at this movement and, as such, is somewhat dry at times. Still, it presents not only a well-rounded look at the religion, but also the socio-economic forces that shaped it. One of the main “pillars of faith”, for instance, is the concept of “repatriation” to Ethiopia. This would never have come about if not for the practice of black slavery in the New World.
I’ll not attempt to describe the intricacies of Rastafarianism in a short message, but, if you’re interested in knowing more, this book is a great place to start.

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