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Indigenous VisionsRediscovering the World of Franz Boas$
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Ned Blackhawk and Isaiah Lorado Wilner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300196511

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300196511.001.0001

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Woman on the Verge of a Cultural Breakdown: Zora Neale Hurston in Haiti and the Racial Privilege of Boasian Relativism

Woman on the Verge of a Cultural Breakdown: Zora Neale Hurston in Haiti and the Racial Privilege of Boasian Relativism

Chapter:
(p.231) Chapter 10 Woman on the Verge of a Cultural Breakdown: Zora Neale Hurston in Haiti and the Racial Privilege of Boasian Relativism
Source:
Indigenous Visions
Author(s):

Eve Dunbar

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300196511.003.0011

This chapter argues that despite Zora Neale Hurston's training under Boas and her work as an intellectual arm of his theoretical and methodological machine, her marginality to American anthropology was no mere accident. When recounting the history of how American anthropology positively challenged and changed foundational notions about racial difference and diversity in the United States, one must also account for the erasure of Hurston's centrality to narratives of modern anthropology's methodological innovations around diversity. Through the use of archival materials and Hurston's own scholarly production, the chapter fleshes out a story that rests squarely within the tension created by Hurston's sense of the discipline's desire to write her out. It focuses on Hurston's Caribbean ethnography, Tell My Horse, paying special attention to textual examples where she attempts to distinguish herself from laypersons treating Haiti in order to textually frame herself as a trained ethnographer.

Keywords:   Zora Neale Hurston, Franz Broas, American anthropology, Tell My Horse, diversity, ethnographer

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