Movements and Moments: On Dub Poetry

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Phanuel Antwi, University of British Columbia

CFP: Essays for The Journal of West Indian Literature November 2021 Special Issue, “Movements and Moments: On Dub Poetry”

Since its acknowledgement by the global literary scene in the 1970s, dub poetry has made several radical/political interventions. We can think of its emergence as part of several anti-colonial moments, as amplifying post-independence movements of Caribbean nations and the crumbling of the British empire; and increasingly, we might attend to the community-mobilizing focus of its practice. Celebrating “nation language” demonized by the colonizer, dub poets have shifted the balance of criticism in favour of seeing Creole language registers as linguistic innovation, as art form, as anything other than unacceptable English, the predominant judgement by the colonial education system. As an artistic tradition, then, dub poetry problematizes the terms on which our politics and the literary are negotiated, troubles demarcations between high and popular culture, and contributes to the musical, literary, visual, and dance movements of a “transnational Jamaica” (Thomas 2011). 

Critics have foregrounded the embodied, gendered, and national significance of dub poetry (Brydon 1998; Bucknor 1998; Carr 1998; Casas 2004; Cooper 1994; Gingell 2005 & 2009; Puri 2005; Antwi 2016). What we have not considered enough is the transnational dimensions of this art form and its resonance. This special issue of the Journal of West Indian Literature is an invitation to re-narrate the cultural history of dub poetry and reevaluate the privileging of certain movements and geographical settings in global mappings of this Black art practice. We are particularly interested in tracing the lives of dub poetry from an anti-colonial nationalist poetics to a Black transnational poetics and performance culture. In this issue, we aim to situate dub poetry as a major influence on transnational Black movements and as an architect of anti-colonial environments in the Black transnational scene. In this way, we seek to expand the sonic territories of Afro-beats in the Black diaspora. We consider ways in which dub poetry’s dissemination is “appropriated, popularized, and indigenized” in a transnational milieu and think about the reverberating “legacies of black-on-black transnational politics” (Chude-Sokei 2011). Such considerations turn us towards what Paul Gilroy identifies as “playful diasporic intimac[ies]” (1993) with all their conflicts, contestations and joys.

Articles accepted at JWIL are expected to be in English and 5000-8000 words in length. Please consult the submissions guidelines of JWIL at Questions regarding the issue and the submission process should be addressed to The deadline for submission is February 15, 2021, and essays should be sent to the attention of Dr. Phanuel Antwi (University of British Columbia) via email at Original essays can be on a range of topics that include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Dub Poetry and the Black Lives Matter Movement
  • Caribbean Poetics/Oral Traditions
  • Dub and Reggae Aesthetics
  • Rastafari Philosophy/Culture and the Reggae Phenomenon
  • The Epistemology and Pedagogy of Dub Poetry
  • Dub Poetry and LGBTQ Politics
  • Dub Poetry and Afro-futures
  • Dub Poetry in Jamaican Popular Culture 
  • Dub Poetry and Copyright Law 
  • Mental Health and the role of Dub Poetry
  • Sound, Blackness, and Technology (analogue and digital) 
  • Miss Lou, Bob Marley, and Dub Poetry
  • Gender Relations and Sexual Politics in Dub
  • Dub Plates, Sound Systems, and Turntablism 
  • Dub Poetry and Musical Forms: Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, Dancehall, Jazz, Hip Hop 
  • Dub Poetry and Carnivals (e.g. Notting Hill Carnival, Toronto’s Caribana)
  • Deejaying (Toasting), Versioning, and Sampling in Dub Poetry