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Title:The Familiar Foreigner: English Colonists and American Indians Writing Each Other
Author(s):Bouwman, Heather M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Parker, Robert Dale
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:In captivity narratives and missionary documents of the early colonial period (1608-c. 1750), English colonists portray Native American cultures as completely foreign yet eerily familiar. Captivity narratives play on foreignness while missionary documents play on familiarity; but both fall back on (and, ultimately, feed on) the other in their characterizations of colonial/Indian relations. Early American Indian writers such as Samson Occom and William Apess, meanwhile, try to reinterpret and reverse these tropes of familiarity and alienness: white culture acts as the alien culture which the Indian must adapt to or alter; the Indian acts as captive or missionary to this alien culture. Thus colonial-authored captivity narratives often question whether the (colonial) captive can influence his or her captors, and they speak the fear that the captive may become Indianized; missionary writings and the writings of Apess and Occom question whether Indians can convert to Christianity and colonial (or American) ways of life. By allowing for colonists to Indianize or for Indians to assimilate to colonial life, all these writings express their fears (and, occasionally, hopes) that--as we might phrase it today--culture may ultimately supersede notions of biological race in determining a person's religious convictions, social class, political affiliations, and racial loyalties.
Issue Date:1998
Description:246 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9904394
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1998

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