This essay takes off from Tavia Nyong'o's “Afro-philo-sonic Fictions” to make a journey into the embodiment of sounding through the dread body. It starts with Prince Buster's Judge Dread persona and Rastafarianism rather than the sonic bodies of the bashment gal in the setting of the dancehall. It traces the dread body through the sounding of the single-multiple of the “I and I” and the dread for the Old Testament god of Jehovah, or Jah. Dread doubles and troubles. It is inflected and inflicted in two directions. One is dread of authority—whether the Greek god Apollo or Judge Dread. The other is for the “sufferah” for the forbearance of that authority. Sounding also doubles, echoes, and reverberates as a vessel for understanding embodiment, not only the particularities of the “Afro-philo-sonic fiction” of a Jamaican Rastafarianism but also the fundamental fissure of the Western philosophical “fiction,” that is, the dichotomy of mind and body, energy, and matter, or subject and object. In the dancehalls and as the first commodities in the cargoholds of the Atlantic slave ships, sonic bodies are restorative, disruptive, and procreative, accounting in part for why they are considered dread.
Julian Henriques; Dread Bodies: Doubles, Echoes, and the Skins of Sound. Small Axe 1 July 2014; 18 (2 (44)): 191–201. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-2739956
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