After Freedom: A Cultural Study In The Deep South (New Directions in Anthropological Writing)

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9780299137847: After Freedom: A Cultural Study In The Deep South (New Directions in Anthropological Writing)
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First published in 1939, After Freedom is the first complete ethnography of an African American community in the United States.

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About the Author:

Hortense Powdermaker (1900–1970) in 1938 joined the newly established Queens College in New York City and founded its department of anthropology and sociology.  Holding many distinguished positions in the field, she served as president of the American Ethnological Society from 1946–1947.  In 1968 she retired from Queens College as professor emeritus and moved to California.  She became a research associate of the Department of Anthropology at Berkeley and began a study of youth culture on the Berkeley campus.  Her many books include Hollywood, the Dream Factory: An Anthropologist Looks at the Movie-Makers and Stranger and Friend: The Way of an Anthropologist.

Brackette F. Williams is professor of anthropology and director of the African American Studies Program at the University of Arizona and an editorial associate for American Ethnologist.  Drexel Glenn Woodson is assistant research anthropologist, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona.

Review:

“Powdermaker’s work provides us with what is still a unique look at how African American men and women struggled to build families, develop capital, and create a community under conditions which made it necessary for both subjects and the observer to refer to their moment in time as ‘after freedom,’ though it was almost three-quarters of a century after emancipation.  Her work offers us perspectives that foreshadowed contemporary ethnography’s efforts to ‘bring anthropology back home,’ Afrocentric research’s focus on Africa in America, and feminist theory’s attempt to incorporate race and class into constructions of white-woman gender studies.”—Brackette F. Williams and Drexel G. Woodson, University of Arizona


After Freedom is not only a classic of African American history.  It is also a model case study in how to do ethnographic field work, how to listen deeply to one’s informants, how to write with rich detail and a keen analytical eye.”—Paul R. Spickard, Brigham Young University

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