Race and Redemption: British Missionaries Encounter Pacific Peoples, 1797-1920 (Studies In The History Of Christian Missions Series)
REVIEWS: "Jane Samson boldly identifies theological anthropology as the key to understanding how, at the height of European imperialism, British Protestant missionaries in the Pacific emerged as figures who confound modernist categories: they were religious men of empirical science,...
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"Jane Samson boldly identifies theological anthropology as the key to understanding how, at the height of European imperialism, British Protestant missionaries in the Pacific emerged as figures who confound modernist categories: they were religious men of empirical science, Christian cognoscenti of pagan pasts, and colonial abrogators of racial barriers. Offering nuanced readings of diverse sources, Samson's thematic study shows how the missionaries' commitment to a distinctively biblical ontology of human unity informed strategies that extended Christian inclusivity to many aspects of Victorian science and Pacific Island cultures."
- Michael W. Scott, London School of Economics & Political Science.
"Drawing on a wide body of sources, this major study illuminates the way in which missionaries sought to understand the Other. In doing so, it provides a fresh and significant perspective on the history of culture contact in the Pacific." - John Gascoigne, University of New South Wales.
"Jane Samson's landmark study pours theology into history to explore how missionaries grappled with alterity in the Pacific in the 19th and early 20th centuries and contributed to or challenged the emerging discipline of anthropology. Her tropes of 'othering' and 'brothering' probe the tensions between missionary recognition of human difference and the Christian imperative to breach these distinctions. . . . This empirically based analysis of the theological anthropology of Christian mission in the Pacific is a powerful and innovative history." - Helen Gardner, Deakin University.
Race and Redemption is the latest volume in the Studies in the History of Christian Missions series, which explores the significant, yet sometimes controversial, impact of Christian missions around the world.
In this historical examination of the encounter between British missionaries and people in the Pacific Islands, Jane Samson reveals the paradoxical yet symbiotic nature of the two stances that the missionaries adopted-"othering" and "brothering." She shows how good and bad intentions were tangled up together and how some blind spots remained even as others were overcome. Arguing that gender was as important a category in the story as race, Samson paints a complex picture of the interactions between missionaries and native peoples-and the ways in which perspectives shaped by those encounters have endured.
Jane Samson is assistant professor in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. She is author of Imperial Benevolence and Race and Reconciliation: British Missionaries Encounter Pacific Peoples, 1797-1920