Complicating the Captivity Narrative | Newberry

Complicating the Captivity Narrative

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Led by Kelly Wisecup, Northwestern University
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

Often cited as an early version of the novel, captivity narratives have remained immensely popular from the sixteenth century to the present. This seminar will examine both conventional captivity narratives (in which a woman taken by Native captors returns home after a period of struggle and change) as well as several exceptions to the genre, including narratives in which the captive choses to remain with his/her captors, thus transforming them into family. We will also investigate accounts by Native captives, who depicted their experiences in print and in art. By looking at the various forms captivity narratives took, we’ll explore how they challenged the racial boundaries and gender roles they were constructed to solidify. In doing so, we will explore strategies for teaching captivity narratives, by discussing exercises for students that highlight the generic conventions, publication contexts, and cross-cultural histories at stake in the narratives and by considering questions of cultural and racial instability, authorship, and political resistance.

Cost and Registration Information 

Newberry Teachers’ Consortium members may register for this seminar through their designated membership contact as space permits. Non-member educators may register for this seminar by purchasing an individual membership at the time of registration. Registration for all NTC seminars opens Wednesday, September 2, 2015. For more information about NTC membership, please contact Charlotte Ross, Teacher Programs Manager, at

The seminar will be followed by a catered lunch. Registrants should RSVP for lunch to assist Teacher Programs staff in reducing waste.

A link to the assigned pre-readings for this seminar will be distributed to participants via email.

If you believe you are registered for this seminar but have not received an email confirmation or reminder, please contact Teacher Programs staff.

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