In 2017 the radical women’s rights group known as the Tambourine Army emerged in response to gender-based violence, sexual abuse, and structures of impunity in Jamaica. The group used hashtags, organized marches, and teach-ins to encourage women to speak out against their abusers, to break the silence surrounding sexual abuse, and to advocate for survivors. Situating the Tambourine Army within traditions of women’s protest and contemporary forms of cyberactivism in the Caribbean, this essay examines the ways the group enacted a sonic disruption to the public and cyber spheres. It chronicles the rise of the movement, explores the centrality of the digital in the members’ activism, and assesses the methods deployed in the group’s contestation of postcolonial ideals of respectability.
The Tambourine Army: Sonic Disruptions and the Politics of Respectability
Danielle Roper, from Kingston, Jamaica, is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include racial formation, performance studies and visual culture, and queer theory and intersectional feminism in contemporary Latin America and the Caribbean. She is a former Thomas J. Watson Fellow and is currently completing a book manuscript, “Hemispheric Blackface: Impersonation and Racial Formation in the Americas.”
Traci-Ann Wint is a lecturer in African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas, Austin. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, she holds a PhD in African and African diaspora studies and an MA in anthropology, and her work engages discussions of race, class, and gender to explore the relationship between tourism and national identity in the anglophone Caribbean.
Danielle Roper, Traci-Ann Wint; The Tambourine Army: Sonic Disruptions and the Politics of Respectability. Small Axe 1 July 2020; 24 (2 (62)): 35–52. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-8604466
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