This project considers questions of religious othering in the contemporary United States through the lens of popular post-religious narratives. These narratives salaciously depict mistreated women in order to demarcate certain religions as deviant; authors and pundits then use these narratives in order to justify outside intervention in specific religious communities. By closely analyzing a selection of contemporary narratives written about women from Muslim and fundamentalist Mormon communities with special attention to both the feminist enactments and tropes of captivity which permeate these texts, this project challenges simplistic portrayals of religious Others. In doing so, the analysis draws the reader's attention to the uncanny imitations in many of these texts: in arguing that certain religions "capture" their female adherents, authors of contemporary captivity narratives silence the voices of women whose stories they seek to illuminate. The dissertation also explores the ambivalent content of many of these narratives. When read against the grain, captivity literature offers surprising opportunities for nuanced explorations of religion, gender and agency.
|Advisor:||Levitt, Laura S.|
|Commitee:||Abdullah, Zain, Alpert, Rebecca T., Watt, David H.|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Religion, American studies, Womens studies|
|Keywords:||Captivity narratives, Feminism, Islam, Mormonism, Religious others|
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