Forging the Missionary Ideal: Gender and the Family in the Church Missionary Society Gleaner

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The missionary press in Britain served not only to diffuse knowledge, but to create identity. For an emergent Evangelical middle-class, notions of masculinity, femininity and family were negotiated and refined through the representations of missionaries and their lives in the field. Evangelical identity was configured through the ideologies and practices of gender and domesticity in the mission context. This article explores the representations of gender and the family in the philanthropic press in Britain through the case study of the Church Missionary Society Gleaner. For the missionary public at home, the pages of the missionary press contained the exemplary normativity of gender, culture and family. In forging those ideals through the work and representation of mission endeavour, notions of gender and family became both implicitly and explicitly linked to Empire. By once again taking the colony and metropole into the same analytical space, we can consider the ways in which colonialism “out there” structured Britishness not only “at home”, but in the heart of the home as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-216
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Religious History
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jul 2019

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