Abstract

Marcia Douglas navigates between the oral and the written, exploring the multiple implications of the Rastafari I&I. Charting the emergence of the Rasta I from its roots in resistance, Douglas calls it a “fortified I,” where “[i]n the language of Rastafari, the I collides with community, nature, and the divine to become a reinforced first person singular or, first person plural, I&I.” At once an examination of Rasta ideology as well as a writerly journey into what it means to create in dialogue with that ideology, Douglas concludes with a fresh look at the Rasta woman as an “emerging Woman-I,” and comes to a new understanding of her own fictional character, Sistah Vaughn, as honoring that agency: “I&I is a Rastawoman,” says Vaughn in “House of Zion.” For “when [she] speaks these words the narrative breaks from conventional first person point of view, and enters the psyche of Rastafari where the fortified and cosmic self resides, complicating the I on the page.”

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