Zuni and the American Imagination
Stevenson, Cushing, and Culin were eccentric, remarkable personalities in their own right, and McFeely gives ample consideration to each of them in her colorful and absorbing study. For different reasons, all three found professional and psychological satisfaction in leaving the East for the West, in submerging themselves in an alien, little-known world, and in bringing back to the nation's new museums and exhibit halls literally thousands of Zuni artifacts. Their doctrines about social development, their notions of "salvage anthropology," their cultural biases and predispositions have now been superseded, even repudiated, but nonetheless their work imprinted Zuni on the American imagination in ways we have yet to measure. It is the great merit of McFeely's fascinating work that she puts their intellectual and personal adventures into a just and measured perspective; she enlightens us about America, about Zuni, and about how we understand each other.