Fictional Displacements: Stewart Culin's Heaven and Earth



“My Friend Herman” is an exoticist fiction of Chinese America that appeared anonymously in a Philadelphia newspaper in 1889. My premise is that its author is the late-19th-century anthropologist Stewart Culin, whose ethnography of Philadelphia and New York Chinese is dissimilar in tone and content. By examining this disjuncture, this article aims to suggest a new focus for the ongoing discussion of anthropological fiction: fiction not as “ethnography by other means” but as a site of displacement in anthropological lives and careers.