"Vital for students of African American religions and Caribbean religions, but also of interest to anthropologists, sociologists, and historians. Highly recommended."—Choice
"Chevannes closely attends to the internal rifts and doctrinal disputes that caused denominational splits within the movement. As Rastafari moved into the larger world, some of its teachings, such as the strict observance of menstrual taboos, were attacked. Chevannes’s analysis of that growth and how it is changing present-day Rastafari is fascinating and illuminating. No fanbook for couch-bound ‘Waspafaris’ sitting around the plastic bong, this is a serious look at a living, growing religion."—Booklist
"Rastafari is unquestionably the best guide to the historical and social connections between the Rasta movement and Jamaica’s peasant religious traditions. It is also the finest overview of the movement and worthwhile reading simply for the tales of the individuals who founded the movement."—Journal of Religion
"The most authoritative analysis of the Rastafarian movement to date. Chevannes combines an oral history account of the social origins of the movement in Jamaica with an ethnographic study of current processes among Rastafarians in the city of Kingston."—Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
The first comprehensive work on the origins of the Jamaica-based Rastafaris, including interviews with some of the earliest members of the movement. Rastafari is a valuable work with a rich historical and ethnographic approach that seeks to correct several misconceptions in existing literature—the true origin of dreadlocks for instance. It will interest religion scholars, historians, scholars of Black studies, and a general audience interested in the movement and how Rastafarians settled in other countries.
Barry Chevannes lectured at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Department of Anthropology. He published a number of articles on Rastafarianism.