Johnston Receives Zora Neale Hurston Prize

AFS News, Prizes

Jaime Elizabeth Johnston (Louisiana State University) received the Zora Neale Hurston Prize, which is given to a graduate or undergraduate student for the best work in any medium—including but not limited to papers, films, sound recordings, or exhibitions—on African American folklore. 

This prize is named for the pioneering folklorist, ethnographer, and creative writer who lived from 1891 to 1960, worked in and wrote extensively about African American communities throughout the southern U.S., and is internationally known for her folklore collection Mules and Men (1935) and her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), as well as other notable works.

Johnston’s thesis, “My Mother Read My Dreams: Dream Interpretation in the African Diaspora,” shares fieldwork conducted with three African American women who practice the tradition of reading dreams in New Orleans. It engages deeply with Folklore Studies, especially belief studies, as well as with personal experience narratives and the importance of phenomenology in looking at emic interpretations of spiritual practices.

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