Dr. Kwame Dawes will teach a section of English 207, which focuses on reading popular literature, to study the lyrics of Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley during the third summer session. The class will run from July 9 to August 9, 2018, at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. The class gives students a chance to discover new cultures and to discover that the world is really much smaller than they think, said Dr. Dawes. Celie Knudsen, a sophomore English major, said the class is different from other classes because of how it compares song lyrics to poetry. According to Dr. Dawes, many students viewed the class as “the highlight of their semester” when he first taught it two decades ago at the University of South Carolina. Dawes said that he works to eliminate many common misconceptions about Marley so that his students come to understand the “true self” of the reggae artist. “I love when students walk in saying, ‘I know who Bob Marley is,’ and leave saying, ‘Wow, I thought I knew who Bob Marley was,’” Dr. Dawes said.
Dr. Dawes went on to note that Lincoln, Nebraska, is very different from Marley’s hometown of Kingston, Jamaica, but he believes the difference can be bridged through teaching. He believes that anyone who has not really engaged with reggae music and Bob Marley “is a deprived soul.” Students who take the class will learn about Jamaica’s culture, the history of the post-colonial period, popular music, and the literature of the Caribbean. Dawes said they will also learn to “think critically, write thoughtfully and engagingly, and learn from the ideas of their peers” as much as from the books, films, and lectures presented throughout the course.
Dr. Kwame Senu Neville Dawes is the Distinguished Poet in Residence, Louis Frye Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts (University of South Carolina). He was born in Ghana but grew up in Jamaica where he attended Jamaica College and U.W.I. (Mona Campus). He also studied abroad on a Commonwealth Scholarship to Canada. He’s the author of thirteen books of poetry, several books of fiction and non-fiction and numerous plays. His essays have appeared in many journals and his book ‘Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius’ remains the authoritative study of the lyrics of Bob Marley. See our recent interview with Dr. Kwame Dawes
Information Source: Daily Nebraskan