Native Speakers: Ella Deloria, Zora Neale Hurston, Jovita Gonzaalez, and the Poetics of Culture

By MarÍa Eugenia Cotera | Go to book overview
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PART ONE

ETHNOGRAPHIC MEANING MAKING AND
THE POLITICS OF DIFFERENCEE

The moment the insider steps out from the inside she’s no longer a mere in-
sider. She necessarily looks in from the outside while also looking out from
the inside. Not quite the same, not quite the other, she stands in that un-
determined threshold place where she constantly drifts in and out. Under-
cutting the inside/outside opposition, her intervention necessarily that of
both not quite an insider and not quite an outsider. She is, in other words,
this inappropriate other or same who moves about with always at least two
gestures: that of affirming ‘I am like you’ while persisting in her difference
and that of reminding ‘I am different’ while unsettling every definition of
otherness arrived at.

TRINH T. MINH-HA,Not You/Like You


Arrival Scenes

In the summer of 1925, Jovita González discovered J. Frank Dobie,the “father” of Texas folklore studies, at the University of Texas where she briefly enrolled as a Spanish student. Before that moment of discovery, she recalled, “the legends and stories of the border were interesting, so I thought, just to me. However he made me see their importance and encouraged me to write them.”1 González found folklore studies at the very moment of its emergence as a regional scholarly practice, and she quickly rose to prominence in the field as one of its most charming and “authentic” scholarly voices. But folklore studies gave González something more than a high profile career: it supplied her with an analytic tool through which to reexamine the stories of her childhood, as well as the perspective or, perhaps more precisely, the intellectual distance from those stories that was

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