She’ll be sorely missed!
The Department of Literatures in English, University of the West Indies, Mona is hosting a retirement celebration for Professor Carolyn Cooper on Thursday, March 23 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in the Undercroft, Senate Building. The event will honour Professor Cooper’s thirty-six years of service to UWI, her groundbreaking scholarly work, and her many and varied contributions as a leading voice in the intellectual and public culture of Jamaica. Queen of dancehall and reggae studies, Professor Cooper’s pioneering work on Caribbean literature and popular culture is widely recognized and often cited. She is the author of the books Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large (Palgrave MacMillan, 2004; rpt 2005) and Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the ‘Vulgar’ Body of Jamaican Popular Culture (Macmillan Caribbean, 1993; rpt 1994, 2003; Duke UP, 1995; rpt 2000, 2008), as well as a remarkable number of articles, book chapters, conference presentations and plenary lectures.
Most recently, Professor Cooper edited the collection of essays Global Reggae (UWI P, 2012), after convening the 2008 Global Reggae Conference at UWI, Mona. Professor Cooper earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Toronto (1977), following completion of a B.A. in English at UWI, Mona. Distinguishing herself from an early age, she won the prestigious Jamaica Scholarship (Girls) for her first degree (1968-1971).
Her postgraduate studies were supported by a Canadian International Development Agency Scholarship (1971-1972) and a University of the West Indies Post-graduate Fellowship (1972-1973). She has taught at universities in Canada, the United States, England and Sweden, and in her over three decades at UWI, Mona, she was the Campus Co-ordinator of the Women’s Studies Working Group (1982-92), she established the Reggae Studies Unit (1994), served as Head of the Department of Literatures in English (2000-2003), and was Director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (2005-2008). She was awarded a Mona Academic Research Fellowship (1999, extended 2003-2004) for the project “Jamaican Popular Music: Oral History and Curriculum Development,” and in 2013 she received the national honour of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander “for outstanding contribution to Education.”
Few other figures have done more to foster intellectual life, creative work, and vibrant public debate in Jamaica than Professor Cooper. She is a weekly columnist for the Jamaica Gleaner, has co-hosted public affairs television programmes including Big People Sup’m on PBC Jamaica, was among the distinguished speakers at TEDxIrie (Jamaica, 2011), and has been featured in several documentaries, magazines and television/radio programmes on Caribbean literature, Jamaican popular culture and gender politics. In 2014 she was Chief Judge (Non-Fiction) for the BOCAS Literary Festival, Trinidad and Tobago, and from 2001-2006 she was a member of the Board of Directors for the Calabash International Literary Festival, Jamaica. The public is invited to attend. For details please contact the Department of Literatures in English at 927-2217 or firstname.lastname@example.org.