The sad tale of Sister Barbara Ubryk: a case study in convent captivity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


The Barbara Ubryk case works with the ambitious claim at the heart of the case was not linked to a broader understanding of human nature, but rather to a specific institution, the convent. The suffering of Barbara Ubryk was understood as both singular and typical. On the one hand, certain details of the Ubryk case were shocking. In particular, the pitiful physical state in which Ubryk was discovered, as well as the incredible length of her confinement, made the case particularly notorious. The sensational element of the Ubryk case seems clear. The status of women was considered a marker of civilization in the nineteenth century. One of the reasons for Barbara Ubryk case appeal was the opportunity it provided for graphic depictions of sexual abuse and torture. In the analysis of sensational literature in antebellum America, David S. Reynolds has classified the convent atrocity story as part of the immoral reform genre.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCase Studies and the Dissemination of Knowledge
EditorsJoy Damousi, Birgit Lang, Katie Sutton
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781138815339
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Cultural History

Cite this