Most of the article explores how Baum didn’t just play on the Hottentot name but also invoked a centuries-old tradition in British and American thought that cast Hottentots as the lowest form of humanity, perhaps even a separate species. This article is the first time I’ve been able to cross-pollinate my Oz writing with my research on eighteenth-century history.
The last part of the essay discusses how Baum, despite building on racist stereotypes, also provides his Tottenhots with a voice and a place in Oz. I don’t think he was consciously arguing for racial equality and inclusion. Rather, he couldn’t help having his greatest strength as a writer, the ability to portray different points of view sympathetically, come through for the Tottenhots.