Misha Baker ’10
For 2 1/2 months this summer I will rent an apartment in Prague and attempt to infiltrate the underground reggae and ska scene. For my senior anthropology thesis I would like to explore youth identity transformations and cultural movements as well as the theme of social justice through music using the Czech Republic as my research site. In order to accomplish this I will attend live shows, outdoor concerts and festivals, observe reggae cafes and interview musicians, local fans, and promoters who keep the scene alive. My main research questions include, ‘how are young white Czechs interpreting and manipulating reggae music and some aspects of Jamaican culture to communicate changing Czech identity?’ I’m not sure what the answer…but hope to gain some useful insights during my time there.
I became interested in this scene towards the end of my stay in Prague because I am of Jamaican descent and have become familiar with reggae within my own cultural context. As a result, I was quite confused and intrigued uncover the appeal of reggae and other Jamaican influences to some young local Czechs.