Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Textual Studies

Committee Chair

Reginald Martin

Committee Member

Ladrica C. Menson-Furr

Committee Member

Verner D. Mitchell


Throughout her career as an ethnographer, Zora Neale Hurston sought to capture the performances that linked African American folk communities of the coastal South to those she encountered in the Caribbean. The conjure woman of New Orleans and the Mambo priestess of Haitian Vodou exhibited performances that dramatized shared cultural and historical memory. These embodied performances connected women's lives across the circum-Caribbean diaspora. By situating the conjure woman in the context of the Marvelous Real, Hurston created a fictive site in which the conjurer acts as the interlocutor of women's recollected narratives and showed how identity could be shaped more directly by shared cultural memory than by geographic bounds. In the novels, Moses, Man of the Mountain, and Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston portrays the conjurer as an itinerant ethnographer who translates narratives that reflect a circum-Caribbean consciousness among African American and Afro-Caribbean women. This project explores how authors Erna Brodber and Nalo Hopkinson have since enlarged on Hurston's model of the conjure woman-as-ethnographer in the genres of Magical Realist and Speculative fiction.Much like Hurston, Brodber and Hopkinson create narratives that challenge the ways postcolonial femal subjectivity has been inscribed in dominant discourses, while extending the bounds of what is considered national, regional, or cultural identity.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.