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Domestic Dispatches: The Moral Imperative of Modernity, Writing, and the Evolving Role of Female Missionaries


Starting in the mid nineteenth century, middle and lower class women in the West started to serve as missionaries in colonized areas of the world. Even more stayed in the metropole and served on mission boards that funded the missionaries in the field What motivated these women and how was their gender a factor in the field? What were the long term effects of these missions on women and the colonized? This thesis looks at how the increased focus on development and modernity allowed women to extend the domestic sphere to include the moral imperative of colonization and mission work. This attempt to spread a western consciousness mean that women gained professional skills. I focus on the role of writing in this thesis. Women’s writing collapsed the space between the mission field and the metropole allowing for the disruptions of norms in the mission field to travel back to the metropole. I draw up, academic sources, didactic protestant hagiography, mission magazines, and personal papers to make this argument.

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