Reggae Innovation and Sound System Culture

R de Matas's picture

An Anthology

Call for Papers 

Kingston is the loudest city in the Anglophone Caribbean and Jamaica whose national instrument is the sound system is the noisiest country on the planet. Reggae is but one of Jamaica’s indigenous musical genres. It provides a window into the soul of Jamaicans, the life and style of ordinary people including their historical struggles and contemporary triumphs. As a nation, Jamaica boasts world renowned creativity per capita that is arguably unmatched by any other nation. Sonic innovation, especially around the development of musical genres and the sound system, is at the heart of Kingston being designated a UNESCO Creative City of Music in 2015. It is this city which has birthed at least six (6) indigenous genres in the mid- to late Nineteenth Century. Reggae is arguably the most prominent worldwide, representing Jamaica across the world, with names such as Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, Marcia Griffith and Peter Tosh being some of the most easily identifiable artists.

The Reggae Innovation and Sound System Culture anthology is a project which builds on recent consultations, collaborations and meetings including the Reggae Research Network held throughout the UK in 2017, the Bass Culture Research Project and associated events, the Strictly Vinyl Sound System Outernational #4 in January 2018 at Goldsmiths, University of London with subsequent conferences in 2019 (Italy) and 2020 (online), and Reggae Innovation and Sound System Culture in April 2018 at the Birmingham Conservatoire and in February 2019 at the University of the West Indies at Mona Campus.

This anthology will highlight subgenres, crossovers, mashups, intersections and innovations, featuring local, regional and international academics, practitioners and musicians. The anthology will engage with reggae innovation, particularly the theoretical and practical expressions of how innovation plays out through music and popular culture.

We welcome proposed papers that address the following sub-themes:

·       Innovation through heritage, from mento to dancehall.

·       Innovation for heritage beyond dancehall.

·       Reggaefuturists and reggaefuturism.

·       Reggae musicians and innovation case studies.


·       Re-reading reggae histories, transitions and translations.

·       Reggae in (and out) of global and/or local spaces.

·       Reggae, music and gender. 

·       Reggae and the music industry; new forms, new marketing, new audiences.

·       Jamaican and diasporic sonicities.

·       Reggae and intellectual property.

·       New Reggae, new media, and new technologies.

·       Exploring dub’s inner and outer spaces and locations.

·       Dub as rhetoric and discourse.

·       Dub and technology

·          Sound System outernational

·       Sonic politics and citizenship    

·       Reggae and dub visualization.

·       Reggae in and out of popular music studies. 

·       Creativity: from theory to practice; methods and processes.

·       Reggae as source and stimulus for music intersections and hybrids.

·       Reggae voice(s).

·       Reggae in transition: reinventing reggae - reconfigurations, collaborations and crossovers.

This anthology is slated for publication in the Sound Culture Series at The Press, UWI.  Contributions must be between 3000 and 6000 words and formatted in accordance with UWI Press style, found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NW6ashBtzIRYSp7FmV4ANwEspG_tGTyW8jabe_5QnbQ/edi

Please ensure that the formatting guidelines are carefully applied. 

The submission deadline for abstracts is December 31, 2020 and the deadline for full papers is January 31, 2021. Email all submissions to Dr. Sonjah Stanley Niaah at culture@kosmopole.page