“But cutting off the Scalps of the Ten Wretches”: Reading Hannah Dustan’s Captivity Narrative through the Body


  • Veronika Hofstätter University of Stuttgart, Germany




Hannah Dustan, body, performance, captivity narrative


This paper examines Cotton Mather’s account of Hannah Dustan’s captivity and its representation of white and Native American bodies in the context of an early colonial, Puritan framework. The analysis of the account shows how bodies are used to translate and question concepts of Otherness in early New England. The performance of bodies in the narrative serves as a representational device to utilize agents of ambivalence and deviation from a conventional captivity formula.

Author Biography

Veronika Hofstätter, University of Stuttgart, Germany

Veronika Hofstätter teaches American literature and culture at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. She has studied at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, USA, and at the University of Regensburg, Germany, where she received a Master’s Degree in American Studies and Comparative European Ethnology, and qualified for a teacher’s degree in German as a Foreign Language. Before joining the faculty in Stuttgart in 2013, she was a lecturer at the Department of American Studies in Regensburg and worked at New York University in Berlin. In her MA thesis on Siri Hustvedt’s What I Loved “and Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections “she applied hunger and eating as lenses to analyze literary representations of the contemporary US-American family in the stated novels. She is currently in the early stage of working on her doctoral thesis on the cultural dimension and representation of the body in captivity narratives in North America. Further research interests include contemporary US-American fiction, the American family, visual culture, food studies, Digital Humanities, and methodologies of American Studies. 




How to Cite

Hofstätter, Veronika. “‘But Cutting off the Scalps of the Ten Wretches’: Reading Hannah Dustan’s Captivity Narrative through the Body”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 17, no. 1, May 2016, doi:10.5283/copas.258.