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The Haiti ExceptionAnthropology and the Predicaments of Narrative$
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Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken, Jhon Picard Byron, Kaiama L. Glover, Mark Schuller, Mark Schuller, and Jhon Picard Byron

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382998

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781382998.001.0001

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date: 24 July 2017

‘Written with Love’: Intimacy and Relation in Katherine Dunham’s Island Possessed

‘Written with Love’: Intimacy and Relation in Katherine Dunham’s Island Possessed

Chapter:
(p.93) ‘Written with Love’: Intimacy and Relation in Katherine Dunham’s Island Possessed
Source:
The Haiti Exception
Author(s):

Kaiama L. Glover

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781781382998.003.0006

This chapter reflects on enrichment, frustration and a feeling of being made humble that has come across from long-standing academic connections to Haiti and Haitian studies. The chapter aims to engage anthropology and the arts in the context of the ‘modern’, as these have factored in Haiti's perception in the wider world. The chapter describes the traces and stakes of a personal scholarly path — and Haiti's role therein — by offering a reading of Katherine Dunham's 1969 memoir and ethnography Island Possessed. It analyzes Dunham's critique of the discipline of anthropology, an explicit evocation of emotion — and of love in particular — and attentiveness to both the limitations of a anthropological practice of intimacy as well as the singular opportunities presented by indeterminate status vis-à-vis both race and gender norms. The chapter also considers Dunham's choices as an African-American performer and ethnologist, paying attention to the strategies and the risks underlying her pioneering practice of dance anthropology.

Keywords:   ethnography, love, Haiti, anthropology, Katherine Dunham, Island Possessed, intimacy, race, gender, dance

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