Instruments in the hand of God: Missionary women in Malaya, 1815-45

Christine Doran

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Most previous research on female missionaries in the Asia-Pacific region has dealt with the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and/or has concentrated on American women. In contrast, this article explores the motives and experiences of British women who were actively involved in mission stations in the Straits Settlements in Malaya, working under the auspices of the London Missionary Society; and it examines the early period of missionary activity in the region, from 1815 to 1845. The paper focuses on a key, but previously neglected issue: the women's motives for becoming involved in missionary endeavor. These women created a notional space for themselves as mission workers, firstly by means of ideas about being useful instruments in God's work; and secondly by asserting a direct relationship with their God, unmediated by male missionaries or the officials of the missionary society. This conceptual strategy gave them scope for maneuver within gendered power structures and thus some degree of social and political leverage.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7-24
    Number of pages18
    JournalAsian Journal of Women's Studies
    Volume10
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

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