Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Gendered Missions: Women and Men in Missionary Discourse and Practice

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Gendered Missions: Women and Men in Missionary Discourse and Practice

Article excerpt

Gendered Missions: Women and Men in Missionary Discourse and Practice. Edited by Mary Taylor Huber and Nancy C. Lutkehaus. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 1999. Pp. x, 252. $47.50.)

This is a collection of essays by seven authors which explore gender issuesi.e., not only the roles of women in missionary societies and missionary work, but also the way in which these roles were shaped and developed by their interaction with men and male institutions-in the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century missions. It describes the diverse ways in which these issues were approached in a variety of religious traditions: English Anglicans, Dutch Reformed missionaries from the Netherlands, Swiss Pietists, Norwegian Lutherans, and Roman Catholics with German roots. The authors also examine how they were encountered in different parts of the world-Europe, Africa, the South Pacific, and Indonesia.

The distinctive contribution of these articles is twofold: they take the testimony of women seriously and present it carefully; and they examine the consequences for women of a patriarchal system in missionary structures in a dispassionate way. It is a serious study by scholars who are attempting to recover the often untold story of the contribution of women and of the difficulties they encountered in a service dominated by men. The book is well presented. Photos that illuminate the text are included. There are endnotes for each chapter that are rich in bibliographical references. The index is well prepared. The book may well have profited from more diligent editing; there is unnecessary overlap and repetition. The editors allowed the author(s) of each article to append a rather long bibliography to each essay. …

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