She was also at table with us at every occasion for lunch, and represented for me the Haitian woman in full process of evolution. Moreover, the idea of American superiority on sex matters is shaken when Dunham alludes to the widespread sexual abuse and exploitation of Haitian women by US marines during the occupation, which had been documented and publicised by the NAACP and others Renda , You can see him in … the group of women about a public well … dragging out the shortcomings of their employers and the people like him.
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Together they inhabit the sky and do more to determine the destiny of man , particularly Dahomean, Aradan, and Haitian, than any of the many other gods of this possessed and obsessed island. Dunham presents a contrasting version of the loa , Maitresse Erzulie, loosely syncretised with the Virgin Mary, who has female devotees, with special women-only rituals and dances.
At the same time, they subvert popular demand for sensationalised accounts of this supernatural figure, presenting supposed female victims of zombification in ways which suggest they might simply be victims of everyday forms of gendered violence. They had just set her dinner before her but she was not eating … She hovered against the fence in a sort of defensive position … show[ing] every sign of fear and expectation of abuse and violence.
The doctor uncovered her head for a moment but she promptly clapped her arms and hands over it to shut out the things she dreaded. But on her visit, she found an unsettling scene:. As in Hurston, the zombie affords an emblem of gendered violence, but where Hurston unmasks a supposed instance of living death as an everyday trauma victim, Dunham gives a mundane story of domestic oppression the patina of zombie legend—achieving the same ends by inverse strategies.
Even as they document these examples of oppression, Hurston and Dunham effect their own symbolic violation of these women by subjecting them to the invasive lens of the camera. Hurston makes no attempt to conceal the violence of this act:. I took her first … cringing against the wall with the cloth hiding her face and head.
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Then in other positions. Finally the doctor forcibly uncovered her and held her so that I could take her face. It is similarly ironic that, as privileged outsiders, Hurston and Dunham gained access to opportunities which they suggest were not open to Jamaican and Haitian women themselves. Before Hurston and Dunham witnessed the slow violence of patriarchal order in their Caribbean fieldwork, they experienced its effects first-hand albeit in milder forms in their male-dominated academic world.
As pioneering African American female anthropologists, Hurston and Dunham were vying for the attention of a small number of sympathetic mentors largely white men in competing for the same funding opportunities, at a time when—even without racial difference as a complicating factor—women were subject to an extra level of scrutiny, often on grounds irrelevant to academic success.
Dunham was more restrained, but no less anxious. Again, man is the measure, with female competition shaped by the dependency on white male patronage, favour and approval.
Where Hurston belittled her rival with colourful language in private letters, Dunham was to bide her time and undermine Hurston through strategic silences—a different kind of symbolic violence. Harold Courlander had been [to Haiti] and Melville Herskovits had just published the first serious and sympathetic study of the people and their social structure. They were white and male, these writers. Of my kind I was a first. We should not overestimate the negative impact of academic paternalism on the careers of these resilient and confident women, however.
Twenty-first-century scholarship continues to recognise such continuities.
She has a special interest in the appropriation of Haitian history and cultural motifs including the zombie in U. Batiste, Stephanie Leigh. Durham: Duke UP, Bennett, Anne. James Birx. London: Sage Reference, Bishop, Kyle William. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, Bone, Martyn. South at Global Scales.
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The idea of a cohesive South, different from yet integral to the United States, arose with the very formation of the nation itself. Its semitropical climate, plantation production, and heterogeneous population once defined the New World from the perspective of Europe.
Our South: Geographic Fantasy and the Rise of National Literature
By founding U. Our South has been a primal site for thinking about geography and power in the United States. A major achievement With a rich archive extending from the eighteenth century to the twentieth-- at once regional, national, and global-- this is cultural history at its most capacious and compelling.
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Ships in 7 to 10 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Industry Reviews A major achievement How to Read a Book A Touchstone book.