Carolyn Cooper

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Carolyn Cooper CD (born 20 November 1950)[1] is a West Indian author and literary scholar. Born in Jamaica, she is a professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. From 1975 to 1980, she was an assistant professor at Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Massachusetts. She was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies in 1980.


Carolyn Joy Cooper[2] was born in 1950 in Kingston, Jamaica, to parents who were members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.[3]

In 1968 she was awarded the Jamaica Scholarship (Girls). She attended the University of the West Indies, Mona, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (B.A. English) in 1971. She was awarded a Canadian International Development Agency fellowship to the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1971 to study for her master's degree in English, which was followed by the completion of her Ph.D. at the same institution in 1977.[3]

She was instrumental in establishing in 1994 the Reggae Studies Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona, which has hosted numerous public lectures and symposiums featuring reggae/dancehall artists and other practitioners in the music industry in Jamaica and internationally such as Lady Saw, Vybz Kartel, Bounty Killer, Tony Rebel, Ninjaman, Louise Frazer-Bennett, Christine Hewett, Tanya Stephens, Gentleman and Queen Ifrica. Professor Cooper founded the annual Bob Marley Lecture in 1997. The Reggae Studies Unit has also convened academic conferences, including in 2008 the Global Reggae Conference,[4] the plenary papers for which are collected in Global Reggae (2012), edited by Cooper and published by the University of the West Indies Press. With Dr Eleanor Wint, Cooper co-edited Bob Marley: The Man and His Music (2003), a selection of papers presented at the 1995 symposium that marked the reggae icon's 50th birthday.

Cooper is also the author of the books Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the "Vulgar" Body of Jamaican Popular Culture (1993) and Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large (2004).

A well-known media personality in Jamaica, Cooper is a weekly columnist for the Sunday Gleaner. In the 1990s, she co-hosted a television show, Man and Woman Story, with Dr Leahcim Semaj for the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation.[4] She also co-hosted a public affairs program, Question Time on CVM television; and, more recently, Big People Sup'm on PBC Jamaica.

Honours and recognition[edit]

The Jamaica Gleaner listed Carolyn Cooper as sixth in their list of "The 10 Best-Dressed Men & Women Of 2011".[5]

On 6 August 2013, Jamaica's 51st Independence Day, Professor Carolyn Cooper was awarded the national honour of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) "for outstanding contribution to Education".[2][6]


  • (edited) Global Reggae, 2012
  • Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large, 2004
  • (with Eleanor Wint, eds) Bob Marley: The Man and His Music, 2003
  • Noises In The Blood: Orality, Gender and the "Vulgar" Body of Jamaican Popular Culture, 1995

Selected articles[edit]

  • "Enslaved In Stereotypes: Race and Representation in Post-independence Jamaica", Small Axe, 16, 2004, pp. 154–169.
  • "Punany Powah", Black Media Journal, 2, 2000, pp. 50–52.
  • "'West Indies plight': Louise Bennett and The Cultural Politics of Federation", Social and Economic Studies, 48, 1999, pp. 211–228.
  • "Ragamuffin sounds: Crossing over from reggae to rap and back", Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 44, nos. 1&2, 1998, pp. 153–168.
  • "Race and the Cultural Politics of Self-representation: A View from the University of the West Indies", Research in African Literatures, 27, 1996, pp. 97–105.
  • "Lyrical Gun: Metaphor and Role Play in Jamaican Dancehall Culture", The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 35 Issues 3 & 4, 1994, pp. 429–447.
  • "Loosely talking theory: Oral/Sexual Discourse in Jamaican Popular Culture", The CRNLE Reviews Journal, 1, 1994, pp. 62–73.



  1. ^ "Professor Carolyn Cooper", The Library, The University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica.
  2. ^ a b National Honours and Awards[permanent dead link], Office of the Prime Minister, Jamaica.
  3. ^ a b Dawes, Mark (9 September 2003). "Carolyn Cooper, I'm a bald head Rasta". Jamaica Gleaner. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2010.
  4. ^ a b Carolyn Cooper biography, The Leslie Center for the Humanities, Dartmouth College.
  5. ^ "The 10 Best-Dressed Men & Women Of 2011", The Gleaner, 5 February 2012.
  6. ^ "The Arts Play Big Part In This Year's National Honours", The Gleaner, 7 August 2013.

External links[edit]