In this meditation, I explore Zora Neale Hurston's sophisticated testimonies with spirit materialities to demonstrate a move away from ethnographic pornotroping. I show how Hurston intervenes in the relationship between exoticism and liberalism as she eschews the revelatory stance of self-indulgent academic voyeurism or fascinating cannibalism. This shift in metaphysics is inspired by Hurston's “hieroglyphics of the flesh.” White patronage is explored as erotics of ethnography. Hurston's strategic fissures cannot be dislocated from these erotics, which emerge in her writing and research practice. I suggest a move away from “ethnographic pornotroping,” or the academic erotics of research as porno-inspired revelations, toward Hurston's own hieroglyphics of attenuation.

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