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Title: "We may have read - but the reality!" : narrating Baptist missions in Bengal, 1800-1855
Author: Brooke, Jonathan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2695 7054
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2010
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This project examines the ways in which missionary periodicals served as a vehicle for ideas about India in the first half of the nineteenth century. Focusing on Baptist missions in Bengal, it traces the parallel themes of 'the family' and 'the heathen' in published missionaries' accounts and explores how they served pragmatic and rhetorical functions throughout the period. By reconstructing these narratives and following these themes over time, we can get a better sense of the role they played in developing the connections between missionaries and converts, metropole and periphery. Beginning with the establishment of the Serampore mission in 1800, 1 utilize the parallel stories of the 'Serampore mission family' and two families of converts to show how these concepts underpinned the structure and organization of the mission and were incorporated into the missionaries' narratives. As the years progressed, these themes-often closely interrelated-assumed more rhetorical value as missionaries became more conscious of the role of their own narratives in generating support among their home audiences, especially women and children. From Serampore 1 broaden the perspective from individuals to communities. With the establishment of 'Christian villages' for converts and the development of what I call 'spotlight' mission stations, many missionaries became keenly aware of the central role of their narratives in the maintenance and extension of missions. From communities 1 shift to institutions, examining the increasingly rhetorical nature of these themes in connection with the Baptists' schools in Calcutta. The study ends with the 1855 conference of Baptist missionaries in Bengal, which represented a turning point in both management and narration as both became more centralized, and as these themes had fully evolved from structural to rhetorical.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral