Black feminist anthropology: theory, politics, praxis, and by Irma McClaurin

By Irma McClaurin

Within the discipline's early days, anthropologists via definition have been assumed to be white and male. ladies and black students have been relegated to the field's outer edge. From this marginal position, white feminist anthropologists have effectively carved out an said highbrow area, pointed out as feminist anthropology. regrettably, the works of black and non-western feminist anthropologists are not often mentioned, and so they haven't begun to be revered as major shapers of the path and transformation of feminist anthropology. during this quantity, Irma McClaurin has collected-for the 1st time-essays that discover the function and contributions of black feminist anthropologists. She has requested her individuals to reveal how their reports as black girls have prompted their anthropological perform in Africa, the Caribbean, and the U.S., and the way anthropology has encouraged their improvement as black feminists. each bankruptcy is a distinct trip that allows the reader to work out how students are made. The writers current fabric from their very own fieldwork to illustrate how those stories have been formed via their identities. eventually, every one essay indicates how the author's box studies have inspired the theoretical and methodological offerings she has made all through her profession. now not when you consider that Diane Wolf's Feminist Dilemmas within the box or Hortense Powdermaker's Stranger and good friend have we had this sort of breadth of girls anthropologists discussing the severe (and own) matters that emerge while doing ethnographic study.

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A SEED IS PLANTED For almost as long as there have been graduates of anthropology departments, there have been Black women who studied this field of inquiry. Most have yet to be acknowledged in the most recent canon-setting texts of the discipline,1 and few are recognized by the field—notwithstanding the election of the Black woman anthropologist Yolanda Moses in 1995 as president of the American Anthropological Association. 2 So-called American anthropology developed in the antebellum period (1840s) and evolved into an academic discipline during the 1880s.

Zora Neale Hurston, Mules and Men (1935; reprint, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1963), 9; and idem, Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica (1938; reprint, New York: Perennial Library, 1990). Hurston conducted research on folklore in the Bahamas, Haiti, the Honduras, as well as the United States. 19. James Clifford, “On Ethnographic Authority,” in The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988). 20. Hurston, “Introduction,” Mules and Men, 9.

All were dependent on grants and prizes to make ends meet. Their economic situations could at best be described as precarious during the height of the Depression; at times, Hurston was compelled to assume jobs as a manicurist and maid to finance her education. Each of these women worked closely with people considered important intellectual leaders in the African American community or the field of anthropology. B. 47 She earned the first master’s degree in sociology from Atlanta University, and when she traveled to Cuba on holiday, she vowed to return to the island and continue her exploration of another black culture that was not her own.

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