Flavors of Florida: Zora Neale Hurston’s Black Folk Ecologies

By James Padilioni Jr. | Black Perspectives

While Zora Neale Hurston’s innovative ethnographic methodologies — including first-hand accounts of her own hoodoo/voodoo initiations — are celebrated by white and Black scholars alike, Hurston’s involvement with the biggest field-defining anthropological questions of her day receives less analysis. Ethnography and anthropology are often used interchangeably, but these differentiated scholarly paths are not reducible to each other. Ethnography centers the local context(s) through which meaningfulness in phenomena becomes discoverable and socially expressible. Anthropology aims to distill from of these many locals some coherent pattern(s) about the nature of the human itself, replete with its manifold and immanent possibilities of becoming. For this reason, anthropologists should be thought of as philosophers who “do our philosophy out of doors.”

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