"Stranger in a Strange Land:" Cultural Hybridity and Mimicry in George Copway's Engagement with Christianity, Freemasonry, and Literacy
Bird, John R.E. 1989-
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While historians have tended to dismiss George Copway’s writings as examples of acculturation, in the field of literary criticism his writings have received a much more focused approach using post-colonial and indigenous studies theories. In addition, recent developments in religious studies and the history of Indigenous involvement in fraternalism have contributed to a more sophisticated analysis of his engagement with Canadian Methodism and American Freemasonry. Though his adoption of Euromerican culture defined his religious and intellectual development, other important motivations and goals informed those choices. While Copway’s education in English literacy and Christianity ultimately drew him away from the Indigenous cultural and social context of his childhood, it would be a mistake to ignore the agency that he exercised in advancing Indigenous issues throughout this process. When the approach of Indigenous literary and religious studies scholars is used to inform a historical analysis, Copway’s life is revealed to be a culturally hybrid, yet coherent, attempt to make space for indigeneity in the public religious and intellectual discourse of nineteenth-century America.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeKlaassen, Frank; Hoy, Benjamin; Neufeld, Matthew; Bartley, William
Copyright DateSeptember 2017