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Hurston at 125: Engaging with the Work and Legacy of Zora Neale Hurston

General Programming

dateOctober 28, 2016 timeFriday, 10:00am–6:30pm EDT location The Diana Center, Barnard College
  • Barnard Center for Research on Women
  • Department of Africana Studies (Barnard)
  • English Department (Barnard)
  • Institute for Research in African American Studies
  • Office of the Provost (Barnard)
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Free and open to the public

Zora Neale Hurston, a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University, has received great acclaim for her literary work, particularly the highly influential novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. In honor of the 125th anniversary of her birth, Barnard celebrates Hurston’s legacy with a one-day symposium that brings together emerging scholars whose work builds upon Hurston’s less wellknown training in anthropology and interdisciplinary modes of expression. Don’t miss the opportunity for a rare look at one of America’s brightest artists and thinkers. Participants include Alex Alston, John L. Jackson, Jr., Meg McLagan, Adrianna Garriga-Lopez, Tami Navarro, Mariel Rodney, Patricia Stuelke, Deborah Thomas, Sarah E. Vaughn, Bianca Williams, and Autumn Womack.

10:00 AM: Welcome

10:30-11:30 AM: Opening Keynote

On Hurston, Anthropology, and the Future
Deborah Thomas and John L. Jackson, Jr.

12:00-1:30 PM: Lunch & Film Screening

"Hurston's Ethnography"
Discussion with Meg McLagan & Deborah A. Thomas

1:30-3:00 PM: Panel Session 1

Hurston as Theory/Zora’s Avant-Garde
Alex Alston, Patricia Stuelke, Mariel Rodney & Autumn Womack

Featuring new work by emerging and junior scholars, this panel explores Hurston’s novels, stories, essays, and folklore as a form of literary or narrative theory, as well as a theorization of avant-garde literary practices. Investigating Hurston’s engagement with blackface minstrelsy as a counterintuitive practice of refusal, her early engagement with sound studies via the folkloric elements in her fiction, her innovative narrative critiques of ethnographic methodology and early sociology, and her Caribbean explorations as a base for critiques of US imperialism and neoliberal policies in the region, these panelists take Hurston’s work into new territory. ZNH@125 emerges as not only, “novelist, folklorist and genius of the south,” but also as a creative woman throwing a “straight lick with a crooked stick.”

3:00-3:30 PM: Break

3:30-5:00 PM: Panel Session 2

Hurston as Anthropology
Adrianna Garriga-Lopez, Tami Navarro, Sarah E. Vaughn & Bianca Williams

This panel features work by four anthropologists working across the Caribbean. Like Hurston’s anthropology, their work is grounded in ethnographic connection with the region and its multiple diasporas. Unlike Hurston, these scholars are writing in what many see as a modern, decolonized, anthropology. This panel highlights the multiple contemporary socio-cultural processes involved in making ‘place,’ and draws us into a dialogue about Hurston’s legacy in the field.

5:00-5:30 PM: Break

5:30-6:30 PM: Closing Keynote