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Missionary Women: Gender, Professionalism and the Victorian Idea of Christian Mission

Missionary Women: Gender, Professionalism and the Victorian Idea of Christian Mission (Hardback)

£60.00
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Synopsis

This is the first comprehensive study of the role of gender in British Protestant missionary expansion into China and India during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Focusing on the experiences of wives and daughters, female missionaries, educators and medical staff associated with the London Missionary Society, the China Inland Mission and the various Scottish Presbyterian Mission Societies, it compares and contrasts gender relations within different British Protestant missions in cross-cultural settings. Drawing on extensive published and archival materials, this study examines how gender, race, class, nationality and theology shaped the polity of Protestant missions and Christian interaction with native peoples. Rather than providing a romantic portrayal of fulfilled professional freedom, this work argues that women's labor in Christian missions, as in the secular British Empire and domestic society, remained under-valued both in terms of remuneration and administrative advancement, until well into the twentieth century. Rich in details and full of insights, this work not only presents the first comparative treatment of gender relations in British Christian missionary movements, but also contributes to an understanding of the importance of gender more broadly in the high imperial age. RHONDA A. SEMPLE is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada.

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