By Rebecca Blevins Faery
Ebook by way of Faery, Rebecca Blevins
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Extra resources for Cartographies of Desire: Captivity, Race, and Sex in the Shaping of an American Nation
Usually I was armed with his BB gun to defend my imaginary frontier home. It was never very clear why he stalked me or what would happen if he captured mehe never did, maybe because neither of us could figure out what would happen thenbut the imagined danger, however vague, was thrilling. I also spent many hours alone, and then my imagination had free rein. I read voraciously, and once, a children's magazine to which I had received a gift subscription carried a long story about Frances Slocum, a little white girl who had been captured long ago by Indians on what was then the frontierthe Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvaniaand who grew up with them, married one, raised Indian children, and finally refused to be reunited with her white family, preferring instead her life among her adopted people.
Both have been repeatedly positioned on the dividing lines of race and deployed at self-defining moments in the evolution of an American nation since the earliest period of North American colonization; the effects of their stories are still evident today in the racial and sexual politics of the United States. S. cultural history, early and persistent features of the Euro-American mappings of colonial and national spaces in North America. Page 10 Stories of whites captured by Indians, especially those involving women, helped in significant ways to produce the difference, at first cultural but eventually racial, in which the stories of contending "red" men and "white" men were grounded and which became the rationale for European conquest and the emergence of a nation founded on white male supremacy.
They make possible the first mappings of the land, producing a new Western geography, a social production of space" (114; emphasis mine). I treat American accounts of white women's captivity and of self-sacrificing Indian women as "liminal narratives" in just that sense, arising in what Mary Louise Pratt has termed the "contact zone," where cultures meet and are mutually transformed. Annette Kolodny describes such narratives as unavoidably dialogic, "multilingual, polyvocal, and . . multicultural'' ("Letting Go" 19), informed as they are by the encounters between cultures and with landscapes that are themselves transformed by cultural exchange.