Citizenship Under Pressure

The 1970s in Jamaican Literature and Culture
Rachel L. Mordecai


PROSE Awards, Honorable Mention, Media & Cultural Studies, 2015

Foreword Reviews' 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalist, Social Sciences (Adult Nonfiction)

Pages and Dimensions: 
292pp 6 x 9



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US$45 (s)


Citizenship Under Pressure: The 1970s in Jamaican Literature and Culture is the first book-length study of the interaction of culture, politics and society in Jamaica’s formative postcolonial moment, the years between 1972 and 1980. Through examining literary and other texts from and about the period, Rachel Mordecai argues that the 1970s were defined by the explosion into the public sphere of a long-simmering dispute over the substance and limits of Jamaican citizenship, in which citizenship claims and counter-claims were advanced and contested via the symbolic deployment and re-configuration of race, class, and gender identities.

“Citizenship Under Pressure certainly makes a significant contribution to the field of Caribbean cultural studies. . . . The work challenges readers to rethink important aspects of the culture and ‘livity’ in 1970s Jamaica, . . . employs a salutary approach to engaging diverse subject matter . . . [and] offers us a fresh look at the social and political tensions that seemed to define Jamaica in the 1970s. This is an important scholarly achievement.” —Glyne Griffith, Associate Professor, Department of English and Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino Studies, University at Albany, State University of New York

“The 1970s were a pivotal decade in Jamaica’s political and cultural history. The profound political shifts and the unprecedented flowering of creative cultural production were closely related, and the period remains the most significant historical moment in the consciousness of Jamaicans at home and in diaspora. UntilCitizenship under Pressure, I have not seen a comprehensive attempt to analyse the period from a literary-critical perspective. The proposition that black citizenship . . . was the defining issue is lucidly, elegantly and provocatively argued. The work is scholarly without being jargon-cluttered . . . a most enjoyable read.”

—Curdella Forbes, Professor of Caribbean Literature, Department of English, Howard University

Rachel L. Mordecai is Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Massachusetts Amherst.