Through the lens of Zora Neale Hurston’s life and work as an anthropologist, this course examines the politics of vernacular language, experimental narratives, the perils and sanctity of segregation during the Harlem Renaissance, the methodological contributions of Zora Neale Hurston for the development of anthropology as a discipline and the broader challenges of erasure in the literary works of black women in the US. Works to be examined are Boyd’s biography of Hurston, excerpts from Hurston’s autobiography, an ethnographic reading of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston’s essays, plays and her mostly recently published ethnography, Barracoon, as well as a selection of articles by scholars who were influenced by Hurston.

This course satisfies major requirements for Africana Studies and Anthropology as well as the Social-Scientific Thought distribution requirement.