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Revisiting Christian missionaries in the Straits settlements: blurring the boundaries between empire, mission and development

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Hudd, S 2019 , 'Revisiting Christian missionaries in the Straits settlements: blurring the boundaries between empire, mission and development' , Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 92, no. 1 , pp. 21-39 , doi: 10.1353/ras.2019.0003.

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Abstract

This article takes two exemplars of Christian missionaries in early colonial Singapore, Penang and Melaka—the London Missionary Society (LMS) (from 1815) and the Infant Jesus Sisters (IJS) (from 1854)—to examine the complex entanglements of missionaries and empire. I argue that they had a wider impact than evangelism and can be usefully conceptualized as faith-based development organizations. The LMS operated the first printing presses in the region and whilst its purpose was evangelical, its translations, technical innovations and printing activities extended its impact. The IJS established schools for girls, an orphanage and a women’s refuge, operating as a faith-based organization focused on the education of girls, reduction in child mortality and the empowerment of women. By viewing these early missionaries within a broader context and through the lens of development, their roles as nascent development organizations become more visible.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hudd, S
Keywords: Straits Settlements, Christian missionaries, humanitarian aid
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
Publisher: Royal Asiatic Society
ISSN: 2180-4338
DOI / ID Number: 10.1353/ras.2019.0003
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 the Society

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