This essay argues that the Jamaican 1970s is perhaps the most contested decade in Jamaican historiography. While there remains a contest over the positions and the stakes of narrating this period, there is consensus of the traumatic hold of the Jamaican 1970s that was at once violent, heady, exhilarating, and creative. There endures nonetheless an often-takenfor-grantedness that we narrate this decade through the singular framework of revolutionary time—a time that challenges the stagnation of the existing state of affairs and brings a new cultural-political order into being. As an alternative to revolutionary time, the author proposes interim time, which by contrast is marked by a self-conscious awareness of the unsustainability of a period’s momentum—a sense of the inevitable return to the status quo. Juxtaposing revolutionary time with interim time usefully frames the period to underscore that both temporalities were simultaneously at play—even among those who viewed themselves as sympathetic to transformations occurring in the then national culture.

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