By Shirley Moody-Turner
"Before the leading edge paintings of Zora Neale Hurston, folklorists from the Hampton Institute accrued, studied, and wrote approximately African American folklore. Like Hurston, those folklorists labored inside of but additionally past the limits of white mainstream associations. they typically known as into query the which means of the very folklore initiatives during which they have been engaged. Shirley Moddy-Turner analyzes this output, in addition to the contributions of a disparate team of African American authors and students. She explores how black authors and folklorists have been energetic participants--rather than passive observers--in conversations in regards to the politics of representing black folklore. interpreting literary texts, folklore records, and cultural performances, criminal discourse, and political rhetoric, Black Folklore and the Politics of Racial illustration demonstrates how folklore stories grew to become a battleground throughout which problems with racial id and distinction have been asserted and debated on the flip of the 20 th century. The learn is framed by means of questions of historic and carrying on with import. What position have representations of black folklore performed in developing racial id? And, how have these rules impacted the way in which African americans take into consideration and creatively interact black traditions? Moody-Turner renders validated ancient evidence in a brand new mild and context, taking figures we notion we knew--such as Charles Chesnutt, Anna Julia Cooper, and paul Laurence Dunbar--and recasting their position in African American highbrow and cultural background" -- Read more...
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Extra resources for Black folklore and the politics of racial representation
9 Working within this context, Newell sought to move away from the previous popular, romantic interpretations of folklore and instead stressed an “objectivist-oriented” rather than “meaning-oriented” approach to folklore collection that was more interested in amassing and studying folkloric material and how these texts circulated, than in understanding what the materials might have meant to the people and groups who shared and passed on these traditions. Hence, in the interest of scientiﬁc objectivity, Newell urged his fellow folklorists to avoid theoretical discussions of the materials that recapitulated the romantic nationalism, and hence the biological and racial determinism, he identiﬁed with popular approaches to folklore.
Scholarly and public interest in folkloric materials hinged, in part, on what these materials revealed about the evolutionary stages of human development. 24 For many, folklore studies oﬀered a way to mark, categorize, and order the allegedly uncivilized elements that persisted in a civilized society. Lee J. Vance, for instance, stated 26 Folklore and the Birth of Jim Crow that “folklore is only concerned with the legends, customs, beliefs of the Folk, of the classes of people which have least been altered by education, which have shared least in progress .
Rice’s depiction of blackness quickened a cultural fascination with the black image that culminated in the immense popularity of minstrelsy. This juggling of racial identity eventually elicited enough attention to become a site of appropriation for the forming system of Jim Crow segregation. Tracing the career of Jim Crow reveals how popular culture, folklore studies, constructions of the black folk, and social and political agendas all converged around turn-of-thecentury questions of racial identity and social order.