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Edmonds, Ennis

Edmonds, Ennis

Donald L. Rogan Professor of Religious Studies @ Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, USA


Ennis B. Edmonds is the Donald L. Rogan Professor of Religious Studies at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, USA. He is the author of Rastafari: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2012), Rastafari: From Outcasts to Culture Bearers (Oxford, 2003), and Caribbean Religious History: An Introduction (NYU Press, 2010). At Kenyon College, he teaches courses on religion and society in the United States, African Diaspora spirituality, and religion and popular culture.

Geographical location : Ohio, USA

Research Area and Interest : religion and society in the United States, African Diaspora spirituality, and religion and popular culture

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Chanting Down Babylon


The Crushing Stones of Babylon: Affliction, Oppression and Violence in Kei Miller’s Writings
Summary: In “Writing Down the Vision,” Kei Miller intimates that he is something of literary prophet who calls society to take stock of its oppressive treatment of the poor and vulnerable. In his writings, he repeated employs stone as the symbol of what ails Jamaican society. Unlike Bob Marley’s “stone that the builder refuse” that becomes the “head cornerstone” (“Ride Natty Ride” and “Cornerstone”), Miller’s uses stone throughout his writings as a symbol and instrument of affliction, violence and oppression. My presentation will explore the varying ways in which Miller deploys stone as a symbol of the personal, social and environmental forces that conspire to constrain and crush those who are socially and economically marginalized in Jamaican society. For example, an unplanned pregnancy and a difficult pregnancy stymy the lives of characters in Augustown and “Fear of Stones” respectively. In The Same Earth, a devastating flood exposes the social vulnerability of Imelda and Eulan in the ultra-conservative religious ethos of Watersgate, and the stones of exclusion and mob violence came crushing done on them. In Augustown, multiple characters have the stone of Babylon resting on their heads and crushing their aspirations and lives. Probably most poignantly, symbolic and literal stones repeatedly and violently upend and end the lives of gay men in The Fear of Stones and Other Stories, as well as other writings. Taking a prophetic stance in these writings, Miller calls us to reckon with our society’s treatment of the marginalized.

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