Gender and Family in the History of Christian Missions
This issue of Studies in World Christianity is devoted to five papers selected from a total of nearly sixty presented at the twenty-fourth meeting of the Yale–Edinburgh Group on the history of missions and world Christianity, held at New College, Edinburgh, from 24 to 26 June 2014. The theme of the conference was ‘Gender and Family in the History of Missions and World Christianity’. The popularity of the theme can be deduced from the record number both of participants in the conference (almost one hundred) and of papers presented. Gender and family are hot topics in contemporary historical research into Christian missions (as they are more generally in social history), and it is perhaps surprising that the Yale–Edinburgh Group has never tackled the theme before in any of its meetings since its inception in 1992. As may be predicted, the vast majority of the papers given were about women or children, with only a sprinkling devoted to the role of men or questions of Christian masculinity: the default setting for historical research remains obstinately male in its orientation, with the result that any meeting advertised under the theme of gender is normally assumed to be an intended corrective to the default setting and hence to be primarily or even exclusively about the role of women.
The selection of five papers published in this issue redresses the imbalance a little in that one of the five is concerned with one highly influential black South African missionary family, and with its male representatives as much as its female ones, whilst another is mainly a study of the contrasting roles in support of missions to Korea played by one man and two women within a notable American Presbyterian family; a third article is concerned with what one male Chinese Christian leader wrote about women, family life and sexual morality.
- Alice T. Ott, The ‘Peculiar Case’ of Betsey Stockton: Gender, Race and the Role of an Assistant Missionary to the Sandwich Islands (1822–1825)
- Joanne Davis, Family Trees: Roots and Branches – The Dynasty and Legacy of the Reverend Tiyo Soga
- Elizabeth Underwood, Enlisting the Family in Missions to Korea
- Gloria S. Tseng, Bathsheba as an Object Lesson: Gender, Modernity and Biblical Examples in Wang Mingdao’s Sermons and Writings
- Andrew E. Barnes,‘Making Good Wives and Mothers’: The African Education Group and Missionary Reactions to the Phelps Stokes Reports