Missions and Empire

By Norman Etherington; Roger Louis | Go to book overview

PREFACE

The planning for this volume began in 2001 with the recruitment of a core of contributors, some of whom attended a planning symposium by the beach in Perth, Western Australia, in February 2002, with support from the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Western Australia. By the end of that year a full complement of authors had accepted the challenge of their commission, which required each of them to write a chapter exploring a single theme connected to the overarching subject of Christian missions and the British Empire. The originality of the project lay principally in the thematic approach, which required each of the authors to write beyond the area of their own regional specialization. Some of the themes are hardy perennials, while others have only recently attracted scholarly attention.

Initial Wndings were presented and compared at a second symposium held at the Missions House of the Basel Missionary Society with generous sponsorship from the Centre for African Studies at the University of Basel and Oxford University Press. The authors were given leeway to write up to 10,000 words in their Wrst drafts, a limit that all exceeded by a considerable margin. After a round of mutual criticism and encouragement, they were required to condense their chapters to 8,000 words. From this process of cross-fertilization and distillation emerged a book more than usually imbued with a shared purpose. On the other hand, no attempt has been made to force a single theoretical framework or vision on the contributors. The contributions range from traditional empirical investigations to work on the pioneering edge of post-colonial and transnational theory. The authors include committed Christians as well as agnostics and atheists. Their evaluations of the results of three centuries of missionary enterprise range from the sanguine to the sceptical. All share the convictions, however, that the British Empire would have been very diVerent in the absence of missions, that the agenda for future research is lengthy, and that the religious convictions of peoples around the world who accepted Christianity in all its myriad forms must be taken as seriously as the faith of the European Middle Ages or the American Puritans.

-vii-

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Missions and Empire
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations x
  • List of Contributors xi
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: Prelude: the Christianizing of British America 19
  • 3: An Overview,1700–1914 40
  • 4: Humanitarians and White Settlers in the Nineteenth Century 64
  • 5: Where the Missionary Frontier Ran Ahead of Empire 86
  • 6: Christian Missions and the Raj 107
  • 7: New Christians as Evangelists 132
  • 8: 'trained to Tell the Truth': Missionaries, Converts, and Narration 153
  • 9: Women and Cultural Exchanges 173
  • 10: Language 194
  • 11: New Religious Movements 216
  • 12: Anthropology 238
  • 13: Education and Medicine 261
  • 14: Decolonization 285
  • Index 307
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