re-conceptualizing of gender in the indian captivity narrative, stone mosaic wallpaper, financial stockholm syndrome

The Eradication of American proto-feminism: The re- conceptualizing of gender in the Indian Captivity Narrative by Matthew Tomiak (pdf file)

Clear-cut gender roles as depicted in the early “Indian Captivity Narratives,” a genre that represented “arguably the first American literary form dominated by women’s experiences as captives, story-tellers, writers, and readers,” could be seen as literary precursors to Richard White’s “Middle Ground” theory.1 Although White is not primarily concerned with the role of women on North American frontiers, his philosophy affords Native Americans – a group traditionally perceived as comparably disenfranchised – as playing a far more active role in their economic, environmental and social dealings with European settlers than historians had usually permitted before the 1970s. Although evidence of the Middle Ground is less apparent in the more confrontational “frontiersman” accounts of the nineteenth century, the formative captivity narratives penned by female authors – the “prototype of popular American writing, dominating publication during the last years of the seventeenth century and serving as essential source for much later American fiction” contain elements that serve as definite antecedents of White’s model.2

[  ]…The captivity narrative has remained, in all its guises, “a major vehicle for reflecting upon the meaning of the European occupation of the captured space of the New World as well as upon the ways in which humans are captured by the space they inhabit; perhaps the most enduring literary record of native-white interaction.”5 Captivities were, according to historian Richard Slotkin, the “archetype of the American experience,” as the situation for captives – irrespective of age, race, class or gender – were presented with “an exaggerated and emotionally heightened illustration of the moral and psychological situation of the community … Their ties with their families, with civilization itself, had been forsaken for the sake of their God’s will.”6

Nevertheless, the genre was initially shaped and formatively focused solely on the experiences of women. The history of the captivity narrative, and of American women’s literature must surely begin with “The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary White Rowlandson,” a phenomenally successful and enduringly popular 1682 account of the capture and subsequent three-month imprisonment of a Massachusetts minister’s wife by the Algonquian tribe during King Phillips’ War of 1675. It is generally considered the genre archetype, although subsequent attempts to replicate its success would undergo dramatic thematic adjustments. Rowlandson’s book was “an immediate best-seller and was reissued in at least fifteen editions before the Revolution. It stimulated the publication of dozens, perhaps hundreds of other stories of captivity, most with far less religion and a great deal more gore.”7

Those interested in the view of native American women captured or bought will have to wait until I can find a good paper available about that perspective – as well as native tribesmen who were captured and sold into slavery. Tomiak  mentions American writer Fenimore Cooper and his twisting the captive narrative around as a threat and burden to what became the centralization of the white European in frontier stories. While I thought the novel “The Last of the Mohicans” was a good story poorly written the movie version of 1992 was a fairly progressive interpretation of the story. Cooper, among other pulp writers of the time did a terrible disservice to the truth. Mary White Rowlandson used her experience as a kind of opportunity to show how her ordeal was a test from her god. Her survival also supposedly granted as proof of her Job-like use as a vessel. Kidnapping is wrong regardless of the race of the captors or captive. One of her children, who was severely injured during the raid on her house, died in captivity ( the other child survived). She did not view her captives as saints, but she did come to see them as humans who suffered and had most of the same basic needs and ambitions as people like herself. Unfortunately her insights were a short-lived tradition as books – pulp fiction of the era – began to have a sensationalized view of what actually happened or simply made up salacious details. White women became objects in the story – helpless and nearly mindless figures who were at the mercy of their captors and fair maidens biding time for their fair white knights to rescue them.The story lines and narrative of capture stories eventually became centered around the heroics of white males. Thus sacrificing the complexity of the interactions between cultures.

stone mosaic wallpaper

In an increasingly interconnected world, the actions of the few can rapidly spiral into a global crisis

The conditions that led to the financial crisis can serve as a lesson as we move forward in this era of interconnectedness and rapid technical change.

In finance, the rise of credit-derivatives networks caused connectivity in the global financial network to grow more dense than ever before, with nodes increasing 14-fold, and links between financial stocks becoming more frequent, increasing sixfold since 1985. Between 1998 and 2007, there was explosive growth in credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations, as well as an increase in resale markets for capital. Whereas the trading of derivatives had been marginal in the three previous decades, by 2007 the market had expanded to $600 trillion, 16 times global equity market capitalization and 10 times global gross domestic product. These swaps contributed to network robustness by spreading risk through securitization, yet they rendered the system vulnerable to targeted attacks on its hub nodes, with the potential for risk amplification and contagion. It was ultimately the subprime crisis that triggered the financial crisis, but it was the underlying innovation, integration, and interdependency of the global financial network that created the system’s fragility.

The focus on innovation and spreading the risk got ahead of regulation. Traders’ incentives encourage them to create ingenious new financial instruments and, because of the constraints posed by regulators, to find new, innovative trading strategies to offset risks. Credit default swaps allowed firms to outsource their risks to counterparties and effectively decouple risk from responsibility.

The tea nuggets and quite a few liberals were ranting just a few months ago about how they were but poor innocents who lived by the rules and should have to pay to bail-out people who took huge risks. Each in their way got something right. That initial genuine populism seemed to have been corrupted – in the conservative and libertarian camps – by FreedomWorks and others who were shifting the frame of blame to regulation of those  perfect free markets of mythical lore. Now that the tea nuggets have their legislative clowns in place – part of the platform is to make sure the chain of connectivity remains with those who will pick up the tab at the bottom as the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Ayn Rand intended. Regulatory reform that can cope with this deeply embedded propensity to ripple out to devastate the people who can least afford it has been gagged and put back in the closet. Conservatives and right-wing libertarians seem to suffer from a form of Stockholm syndrome which makes them identify with their captors more than their own best interests.