The resonance of captivity: Aliens and conquest

Susan Lepselter


The trope of containment forms a persistent undercurrent in dominant discourses of American freedom. This article describes and performs this trope through the intertextual poetics of stories about captivity, focusing on what the author here calls “resonance,” especially between historical American Indian captivity narratives and UFO abduction accounts. Throughout this article, the idea of the uncanny is used as a way to think through various ethnographic and mediated examples of American ambivalence about the legacy of empire and colonization. The author argues that a vernacular theory of power emerges in people’s sense of ongoing parallels between various narratives of containment in America. The writing mimetically performs, as well as interprets, this narrative resonance.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau2.2.006