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Culture of Rastafari

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Apply Now through Dec 6 2019, to study in Jan 2020.  Apply here


This course offers an introduction to some of the central ideas and issues related to the culture of Rastafari. The objective is to allow students to view a range of cultural artefacts and texts produced by and about Rastafari in order to interpret and assess the significance of the movement’s emergence, development and contribution to local sensibilities as well as global thought and practice. The course existing in the field of Cultural Studies will also aim to present the movement as part of a holistic framework of Caribbean socio-cultural retentions. Students will become exposed to the theoretical underpinnings that have sought to expand and regulate the growth of the Rastafarian movement.

The main themes explored include the ideological underpinnings of Rastafari such as Pan-Africanism, Ethiopianism, repatriation and reparation; the emergence and evolution of Rastafari; Rastafari doctrine and dogma; Rastafari and resistance; Rastafari and Reggae music; Rastafari and gender; and Rastafari in the 21st century.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for Students of Cultural Studies, Philosophers, Community Organizers, Teachers, Social Activists, Cultural Enthusiasts, Rastafarians, and anyone interested in learning more about Rastafarian Culture.

Course Structure

This course is divided into 9 units.  The units to be covered in this course are as follows:

  • Unit 1: The Road to Rastafari I – Context and Foundation
    Pan-Africanism Ethiopianism Marcus Garvey
  • Unit 2: The Road to Rastafari II – The Founders
    Leonard Howell and the Emergence of Pinnacle Archibald Dunkley
    Robert Hinds Joseph Hibbert
  • Unit 3: Doctrine and Dogma I –Theology of Rastafari, selected texts
    The Kebra Negast (The Glory of the Kings) The Promised Key
    The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy
    The Holy Piby or The Black Man’s Bible
    The King James Bible
  • Unit 4: Doctrine and Dogma II – The Rituals, Livity and Mansions of Rastafari
    Rituals and Ital Livity
    The Mansions of Rastafari: Theocracy Reign Order of the Nyahbinghi (Binghi mansion); the Bobo Ashanti; and the Twelve Tribes of Israel
  • Unit 5: Resistance, Persecution and Early Intellectual Attempts to Understand Rastafari
    Rastafari and Resistance
    Persecution against Rastafari
    The “Report” on Rastafari
  • Unit 6: Rastafari, Repatriation and Reparation
    Repatriation to the Motherland – The Quest of Rastafari Reparation and Rastafari Agitation
  • Unit 7: Gender and Rastafari
    Gender Roles in Rastafari Ritual and Practice
    ‘Rastaman Woman’: Role and Place of Women in Early Rastafari Movement
    Becoming a Rastawoman: Evolving Position of Women in Rastafari
  • Unit 8: Rastafari and Reggae
    History of Reggae Music
    Reggae and the ‘Gospel’ of Rastafari
  • Unit 9: Rastafari in the Globalised Twenty-first Century
    Global Rastafari
    Message of Rastafari in the 21st Century – Relevance and Authenticity


When will the course start?

Students may start this programme in January or August of each academic year.

Course Cost

US$570.00 (international non-contributing students)

US$360.00  (regional/contributing students)

How to Apply

Click to Complete Application Form

Entry Requirements


Mode of Delivery

CLTR2518 will be delivered synchronously (weekly web-conferencing and online tutorials) and asynchronously (discussion forums and pre-recorded videos and interviews). This course embraces collaborative, active and experiential learning styles to achieve course objectives. Units are designed so that students are encouraged to learn by participating in learning activities individually or in groups and through experience. Students therefore undertake video analysis or field trips to Rastafari sites, perform document analysis of Rastafari key texts, and carry out peer teaching/learning through the creation of wikis, blogs and discussion forums.


Assessment Structure

The course will be assessed as follows:

Final Exam: 40%
Compulsory Coursework: 60% to be assessed as follows:
  • Field Trip or Video Report:  20%
  • Research Essay :             30%
  • Tutorial Essay:                 10%



The Assessment Plan will provide a detailed breakdown of each coursework assignment.