The introduction details an alternative genealogy through which to approach both African American folklore studies and African American literary engagements with black folklore in the post-reconstruction period, centering African Americans as active participants, rather than merely passive repositories, in the study and representation of black folklore. It proposes a corrective to both the discipline of folklore studies and a new lens through which to read representation of folklore in African American literature. In particular, the introduction shows how developments in folklore studies were inseparable from turn-of-the-century constructions of race.
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