ABSTRACT

The captivity narratives I study in this book create space for an overdue renewal of landscape for a range of communities. These collaborative texts, first published in the 1820s and 1830s, make ongoing local and national arguments for justice based on universal human rights, bearing witness to the ongoing inhabitation and use of specific places. While I argue in each chapter of this book for ways in which these specific captivity narratives make the case for site-specific inhabitation, captivity’s flip side is migration and exile. Rather than being paradoxical, it is a strength that the categories of home, community, and wilderness are changeable and, sometimes, interchangeable. In addition to staking claims on specific places, these texts materially recognize that we all live on contested grounds.