Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Bruce Harvey

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Donna Weir-Soley

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

James Sutton

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


Zora Neale Hurston, Literature, Dance, Anthropology, Theater

Date of Defense



Zora Neale Hurston’s literature involves dance and performance. What makes this a viable topic of inquiry is her texts often exhibit the performative, whether portraying culture or using dance and associated folk rituals to create complex meaning. Hurston’s use of black vernacular and storytelling evokes lyrical expression in "Their Eyes Were Watching God." African and Caribbean Diasporas in Hurston’s literature reflects primitive dance performances and folklore. This novel requires lyrical analysis. The storytelling feature of performance arts and reclamations of the body are present in Hurston’s text. In recent academic settings, the body has come to occupy a crucial place in literary and cultural texts and criticism. Hurston’s versatile material and anthropology techniques are instrumental in reshaping dance history. A new archetype for theorizing the body has surfaced, where the body of text is performance and lyrical expression.





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