Missionary Discourses of Difference: Negotiating Otherness in the British Empire, 1840-1900

Overview

Through their copious published writings, missionaries conveyed their experiences and anxieties about people and cultures they encountered in a much-consumed strand of colonial discourse, that allowed the British public to imagine the remote countries they inhabited. Using research that draws on these writings from missionaries in southern Africa and India, Missionary Discourses of Difference is organised into three important themes of imperial and postcolonial scholarship and major missionary concern: family, ...

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Missionary Discourses of Difference: Negotiating Otherness in the British Empire, 1840-1900

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Overview

Through their copious published writings, missionaries conveyed their experiences and anxieties about people and cultures they encountered in a much-consumed strand of colonial discourse, that allowed the British public to imagine the remote countries they inhabited. Using research that draws on these writings from missionaries in southern Africa and India, Missionary Discourses of Difference is organised into three important themes of imperial and postcolonial scholarship and major missionary concern: family, sickness and violence. Each thematic section considers both how missionaries represented race, religion, gender and culture and how their thinking was shaped by anxieties about their own experiences. This two-pronged approach allows for a sustained interrogation of the interplay between self and other in missionary writing and probes the limits of inclusion beneath the missionary commitment to universalism.

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Meet the Author

ESME CLEALL studied at the University of Sheffield, UK, before completing a PhD at UCL. She currently teaches Modern History at the University of Liverpool. Her research is on the social and cultural history of Britain and its Empire and the intersections between 'race', 'gender' and 'disability' in colonial thought. Her new project investigates nineteenth-century understandings of deafness.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Acknowledgements ix

Note on Terminology xi

Introduction: Difference and Discourse in the British Empire 1

Part I Families and Households: Difference and Domesticity

1 Representing Homes: Gender and Sexuality in Missionary Writing 29

2 Re-Making Homes: Ambiguous Encounters and Domestic Transgressions 48

Part II Sickness and the Embodiment of Difference

3 Pathologising Heathenism: Discourses of Sickness and the Rise of Medical Missions 79

4 Illness on the Mission Station: Sickness and the Presentation of the 'Self' 98

Part III Violence and Racialisation

5 Violence and the Construction of the Other 123

6 Colonial Violence: Whiteness, Violence and Civilisation 142

Conclusion: Thinking with Missionaries, Thinking about Difference 162

Notes 171

Bibliography 207

Index 231

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