3.02.970 S Cultural Encounters in Captivity Narratives


  • Mittwoch: 16:00 - 18:00, wöchentlich


From colonial to postcolonial times, North American captivity narratives have remained alive and well. Mary Rowlandson’s captivity among Wampanoag, Nipmuck, and Narragansett Indians during King Philip’s War (1675-76), for instance, has long been considered to be a “foundational” and central text to the U.S. American myth of exceptionalism and persisted even in the 1960s Hollywood revisionist western captivity stories. Many of the more recent captivity narratives, however, wish to distance themselves from such nationalist and racialist assumptions. At the same time, the Iraq Wars have caused renewed investigations of captivity narratives of North Africa or “Barbary.” To capture some of the genre’s breadth, resilience, and lasting fascination, this course will be divided into three major thematic clusters, dealing with popular cultural texts in print and film: (1) From Indian Captivity to Hollywood Western Captivity; (2) “Barbary” Captivity Narratives; and (3) Captivity in the Borderlands. Notwithstanding the implicit assumption of racial and cultural conflict in the term “captivity,” we will explore these texts as multilateral “sites of encounters,” which can be approached as contact zones, borderlands, or liminal spheres with specific geopolitical, (trans)cultural/ (trans)national, ethnic, racial, gender, or medial contexts and meanings.
This course is designed in combination with the lecture series “Sites of Encounter: Boundaries, Liminalities, and their Media” (3.02.977), so that students may sign up for a portfolio as assessment which also includes short assignments relating to the conceptualization of "sites of encounters" as outlined in these lectures.

Please purchase and read: James Riley, Sufferings in Africa (1859); Gloria Anzaldúa Borderlands / La Frontera (1987).
Please purchase and watch: Arthur Penn, Little Big Man (1970); Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips (2013); Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel (2006).



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