Film – Documentary | March 14 | 6-8 p.m. | Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall (CITRIS)

Sponsors: English Department, African American Studies Department, Geography Department, Townsend Center

Panelists: Deborah Thomas (film director; Anthropology, UPenn); Nadia Ellis (English, Berkeley); Joshua Jelly Schapiro (Geography, Berkeley); Donald Moore (Anthropology, Berkeley)

In 2011 renowned anthropologist and African Diaspora scholar Deborah Thomas co-directed Bad Friday, a film documenting a largely forgotten event in modern Jamaican history and the development of Rastafari culture. During the so-called Coral Gardens “incident” in 1963, Jamaica’s newly independent government rounded up, jailed, and tortured a large group of Rastafarians. Thomas and her collaborators explore this story by turning their cameras on Rastas in rural western Jamaica who memorialize Coral Gardens in a yearly event of commemoration. Bad Friday raises questions about the status of the archive in the long aftermath of violence, the role of historical memory in modern Jamaica, and the relationship of local stories to global diasporic culture. Deborah Thomas will engage in a post-screening discussion of the film and these related issues with discussants Nadia Ellis (English), Joshua Jelly-Schapiro (Geography), and Donald Moore (Anthropology). 

Deborah Thomas is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of numerous essays and two important studies about the Caribbean and global black identity: Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization, and the Politics of Culture in Jamaica (Duke UP, 2004) and Exceptional Violence: Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica (Duke UP, 2011). 

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Colloquium | March 13 | 3:40-5 p.m. | 575 McCone Hall

Event Contact:, 510-642-3903