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Allegories of EncounterColonial Literacy and Indian Captivities$
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Andrew Newman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469643458

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469643458.001.0001

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Captivity as Literacy Event

Captivity as Literacy Event

(p.1) Introduction Captivity as Literacy Event
Allegories of Encounter

Andrew Newman

University of North Carolina Press

The introduction uses James Smith’s 1799 narrative of captivity during the French and Indian War to illustrate key concepts adapted from sociolinguistics, academic literacy studies, and narratology. Representations of literacy events, or action sequences involving reading and writing, express the captives’ affiliation with their discourse communities, which share literacy practices and language ideologies, including the widespread belief that literacy entails a cultural superiority over native peoples. The analysis distinguishes between conventional textual references, such as allusions, that belong to the author’s discourse, and texts that appear as part of the captive’s story. It presents the concept of the reception allegory, an application of another text to one’s present circumstances, and emphasizes the ethnohistorical context for the captive’s experience, as opposed to the cultural context for the author’s narrative.

Keywords:   allegory, captivity, discourse community, ethnohistory, language ideology, literacy, James Smith, story/discourse distinction

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