Women and the White Man's God
Gender and Race in the Canadian Mission Field
Between 1860 and 1940, Anglican missionaries were very active in northern British Columbia, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. To date, histories of this mission work have largely focused on men, while the activities of women – either as missionary wives or as missionaries in their own right – have been seen as peripheral at best, if not completely overlooked.
Based on diaries, letters, and mission correspondence, Women and the White Man’s God is the first comprehensive examination of women’s roles in northern domestic missions. The status of women in the Anglican Church, gender relations in the mission field, and encounters between Aboriginals and missionaries are carefully scrutinized. Arguing that the mission encounter challenged colonial hierarchies, Rutherdale expands our understanding of colonization at the intersection of gender, race, and religion.
This book is a critical addition to scholarship in women’s, Canadian, Native, and religious studies, and complements a growing body of literature on gender and empire in Canada and elsewhere.
Missiologists will find this study to be a helpful inquiry into the evolution of the role of women in mission. While Rutherdale exposes many of the serious difficulties encountered by women generations ago, she also shows how women were themselves complicity in patriarchy.
This book is the first work to examine the role of Canadian women in northern missionary fields in a serious, scholarly way, and I highly recommend it.
Rutherdale’s study of Anglican women missionaries in British Columbia, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories is a valuable addition to the sparse literature on domestic missions, especially on women missionaries. The author has made excellent use of a wealth of archival sources and contemporary printed accounts and has a fine eye for lively and revealing quotation.
Myra Rutherdale provides a valuable and important analysis of the role of gender among Anglican missionaries who willingly went to the edge of civilization to bring faith and human services to the aboriginal peoples of the Canadian West. The text is carefully researched, well written, thoroughly documented and generously illustrated ... Rutherdale's effort will generate important discourse and keep women in the forefront of scholarly consideration of religion in the American and Canadian West.
1 Breaking Down the Barriers: Gender and the Anglican Church at Home
2 Perceptions and Interpretations of the “Other”
3 “I Wish the Men Were Half as Good”: Gender Relations in the Mission Field
4 “Oh, To Be in England”: Making a Home Away from Home
5 Motherhood and Morality
6 Contesting Control while Encouraging Zeal
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