Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Wylers, the popular music most strongly associated with the annual Christmas carnival in St. Kitts and Nevis, is generally regarded as â??too fast.â?? And yet, while wylers is broadly understood as â??too fast,â?? metric analysis of representative songs does not indicate a major difference in tempo or beats per minute between wylers and other, widely accepted, popular Caribbean music such as Trinidadian Power soca or Dominican bouyon. Why, then, is wylers perceived as â??too fast?â?? What is at stake in making this claimâ??that is, too fast for whom or for what? This dissertation examines the varied and highly divergent answers that emerge in response to these questions. Ultimately, a case is made for understanding the rhetoric surrounding wylers as indicative of the strong legacy of colonialismâ??colonialityâ??that informs the ways people perceive certain types of sounds and movements. This project, then, illustrates the presence of historically contextual, and ethically grounded conceptions of tempo and â??fastnessâ?? even in the postcolonial moment. I argue that being, sounding, and moving â??too fastâ?? in St. Kitts and Nevis are the local, temporal, sonic, and embodied deployments of decolonial aesthesis as a response to and rejection of colonial aesthetics as an upholding tenant of coloniality. Following the contours of local discourse in St. Kitts and Nevis, I deploy the colloquial, Kittitian-Nevisian Creole definitions of the word â??fastâ?? and the phrase â??too fastâ?? as thematic guides in order to examine 1.) Notions of unauthorized musicianship and untimely musicality and 2.) Black female performances of sexuality and citizenship. Through use of ethnographic and historical methodologies, I argue that unconventional modes of musicianship and unrespectable performances of female sexual expression are â??too fastâ?? in their relationship to colonial mores of respectability. I consider how appeals to and valuations of manners of being, sounding, and moving â??too fastâ?? carve out aesthetic and ontological space for decolonial possibility.
Baker, Jessica Swanston, "Too Fast: Coloniality and Time in Wylers of St. Kitts and Nevis" (2015). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 1011.
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