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Divine Domesticities

Divine Domesticities: Christian Paradoxes in Asia and the Pacific

Hyaeweol Choi
Margaret Jolly
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Divine Domesticities
    Book Description:

    Divine Domesticities: Christian Paradoxes in Asia and the Pacific fills a huge lacuna in the scholarly literature on missionaries in Asia/Pacific and is transnational history at its finest.

    eISBN: 978-1-925021-95-0
    Subjects: History, Religion, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Hyaeweol Choi and Margaret Jolly
  5. Paradoxes of Domesticity: Missionary Encounters in the Making of Christian Homes in Asia and the Pacific
    (pp. 1-26)
    Hyaeweol Choi and Margaret Jolly

    One day in the 1890s, a group of Korean women gather together to pay a visit to the home of the local missionary from the United States. This was more than a social call; it was an expedition. The missionary home was filled with all manner of exotic stuff they had never seen before, and the Korean visitors were intrigued by the promise of what they might find there. In preparing to host her visitors, the wife of the missionary might take some extra care to highlight these attractions to make the experience all the more impressive for her guests...

  6. Part One Permeability and Paradox:: Revisiting Domestic and Public in Asia and the Pacific

    • 1. The Missionary Home as a Pulpit: Domestic Paradoxes in Early Twentieth-Century Korea
      (pp. 29-56)
      Hyaeweol Choi

      The English phrase “home, sweet home” was widespread in the Korean print media by the late 1920s. It signified a loving modern nuclear family with a husband and wife and their children living in a modern house(munhwa chut’aek; literally culture house) in peace and harmony.² Articles describing celebrities’ “home, sweet home” were frequently featured in popular magazines, offering an idealised form of modern family life. The first issue of the magazine,Sin Kajǒng(New Family), even included the musical notation for the songHome, Sweet Home.³ The adoption of the phrase “home sweet home” signals a shift in the...

    • 2. Missionaries and “A Better Baby Movement” in Colonial Korea
      (pp. 57-84)
      Sonja M. Kim

      On a cold winter morning in January of 1924, American missionary and trained nurse Elma T. Rosenberger and her assistant, Korean nurse-midwife Han Singwang, knocked on doors in Seoul inviting mothers and their young children to a new infant welfare clinic at T’aehwa yǒjagwan (hereafter, T’aehwa, called the Social Evangelistic Centre by the missionaries).¹ This was a community centre for Korean women and children founded in 1921 by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Women’s Council of the Southern Methodist Church for evangelistic, education and social service purposes.² The first day, one baby came....

    • 3. All Other Loves Excelling: Mary Kidder, Wakamatsu Shizuko and Modern Marriage in Meiji Japan
      (pp. 85-112)
      Rebecca Copeland

      The adage, “Do as I say, not as I do,” might well have been on the lips of American missionary women in Japan at the turn of the twentieth century. As Jane Hunter, a historian whose work has focused on missionary women in China, observes, “The message of Christian domesticity preached by missionary women [in China] was less transformative than the force of their own example.“² Trained “in submission, service, and love, all objects of the mission cause,”³ American women were thought to be inherently suited to serving Christian goals. But more often than not, as these women crossed into...

    • 4. Raising the Standards of Family Life: Ginling Women’s College and Christian Social Service in Republican China
      (pp. 113-140)
      Helen M. Schneider

      Between 1928 and 1951 Wu Yifang served as the president of the Protestant missionary-founded Ginling Women’s College.² During their 1952 reshuffle of higher education, the new Communist regime organised Ginling out of existence. Wu remained in leadership positions during the Maoist period.³ Her condemnation of Ginling’s social service work shows that she embraced the Communist critique of Christian education as an insidious form of what has been termed cultural imperialism, or what she called “cultural aggression.”⁴ Wu held that social service only temporarily and superficially ameliorated the distress of the working and peasant masses, and thereby delayed a political revolution...

  7. Part Two Sacred and Secular Genealogies:: Christian Missions and States—Colonial and Contemporary

    • 5. Sacred Genealogies of Development: Christianity and the Indian Modern
      (pp. 143-166)
      Kalpana Ram

      The term “development” is by now indelibly associated in much critical social theory with “discourse,” in the sense that Michel Foucault made his own.¹ Writing in the wake of an earlier decade’s work on colonialism as discourse, Arturo Escobar celebrates the possibilities of extending Foucault’s method to development.² But—like any method —discourse analysis brings with it characteristic preoccupations and orientations that foreclose certain possibilities while opening up others. Once a methodological stance is adopted, certain consequences are set in motion. Escobar wishes “to show in detail how development works.”³ But his enterprise now becomes identical with setting out “to...

    • 6. “Ol Meri Bilong Wok” (Hard-working Women): Women, Work and Domesticity in Papua New Guinea
      (pp. 167-198)
      Jemima Mowbray

      In 2007 I spent just over six months living in Basbi, a hamlet in the larger village of Hahalis on Buka Island.¹ During this time I recorded oral histories and undertook fieldwork with the Halia-and Haku-speaking peoples of Buka. Their villages stretch along the north-eastern coast of Buka Island which is around 55 kilometres (34 miles) in length and at its widest 17 kilometres (10.5 miles). It is the second largest island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, located just to the north of the main island and separated from it by a narrow, but deep passage. Bougainville, formerly known...

    • 7. “Tired for nothing”? Women, Chiefs, and the Domestication of Customary Authority in Solomon Islands
      (pp. 199-224)
      Debra McDougall

      Throughout Asia and the Pacific, Christian missionaries were central agents in promulgating an ideal of domesticity that defined a woman’s place as in the home. As other chapters in this volume show, however, many European missionary women moved away from hearth and home and led prominent public lives contravening in practice what they endorsed in principle. European women and indigenous women were often present on the mission stations of the Western Pacific, albeit in secondary roles as the wives of male missionaries and converts. The same cannot be said for centres of colonial administration. As Anne Dickson-Waiko has pointed out...

  8. Part Three The Architectonics of Home and Emotion:: New Christian Families in Conversion Experiences

    • 8. Agency and Salvation in Christian Child Rescue in Colonial India: Preena and Amy Carmichael
      (pp. 227-246)
      Annie McCarthy

      On 6 March 1901, a young girl insistently requesting “the child-stealing-Ammal” (mother) is brought before Miss Amy Carmichael,¹ a Keswick missionary with the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society (CEZMS) in the South Indian district of Tinnevelly (Tirunelveli).² Unafraid, the young girl quickly declared, “My name is Pearl-eyes … and I want to stay here always. I have come to stay.³ Despite the actual circumstances of Pearl-eyes’ (Preena’s) arrival,⁴ she is consistently described as Miss Carmichael’s first rescued child, marking the beginning of her life-long fight for “little [temple] girls, who can never fight for themselves!”⁵ The absurdity of this...

    • 9. Deviant Domesticities and Sexualised Childhoods: Prostitutes, Eunuchs and the Limits of the State Child “Rescue” Mission in Colonial India
      (pp. 247-280)
      Jessica Hinchy

      In the late 1860s and early 1870s, colonial officials in north India argued that the British government had a duty to “rescue” girls and boys who were allegedly kidnapped and condemned to a “life of infamy” by eunuchs and women labelled prostitutes. Colonial officials claimed that prostitutes and eunuchs sexually “corrupted” girls and boys, respectively, and hired them out as child prostitutes. British administrators proposed to register and remove children who resided with prostitutes and eunuchs and to appoint “respectable” guardians. In India, unlike Australia, the removal of children was not a general technique of colonial governance.¹ These projects for...

    • 10. A New Family: Domesticity and Sentiment among Chinese and Western Women at Shanghai’s Door of Hope
      (pp. 281-298)
      Sue Gronewold

      On a winter’s eve in 1902, Wu Li-tsu arrived at the doorway of Shanghai’s Door of Hope, a Christian rescue mission for Chinese prostitutes that had been opened a year before by an interdenominational committee of Western women.¹ Ten years before, Wu had been sold to a bad-tempered madam in a nearby brothel as ashu-yu, a high-class “sing-song” girl, and had been severely mistreated. Learning of a new place in the neighbourhood that took in women like her, she managed to escape and find it. Welcomed by its first resident missionary, Cornelia Bonnell, and a Chinese matron, Wu that...

    • 11. From Open Fale to Mission Houses: Negotiating the Boundaries of “Domesticity” in Samoa
      (pp. 299-324)
      Latu Latai

      The traditional Samoanfaleor house is a magnificent feat of Samoan architecture. Its intricate design involves specialised knowledge and skills that are passed down from generation to generation. Significantly, the architecture of the Samoan fale is more than just a building. Its design mirrors and constitutes the culture and life of Samoan people being deeply connected to the values of kinship, ancestral past, land and community. The spaces outside and inside of thefaleare pivotal to cultural form, ceremony and ritual. Moreover, architectural concepts are incorporated in Samoan proverbs, oratory and metaphors, and linked to other art forms...

    • 12. Paradoxical Intimacies: The Christian Creation of the Huli Domestic Sphere
      (pp. 325-344)
      Holly Wardlow

      It is tempting to imagine that the Christian missionisation project in the Pacific is afait accompli— that is, that the missionary aims of conversion, and the consequent transformations of Pacific families and subjectivities, are not only events of the past, but also that Christianity itself was long ago indigenised and now is wholly something of the Pacific, not something that should be thought of as an external imposition. However,conversionis a term and process that encompasses a multiplicity of embodied and relational transformations. More than a matter of inner subjective faith, it also entails manifestations of one’s religiosity...

  9. Part Four On and Beneath the Skin:: Embodiment and Sensuous Agency

    • 13. Paradoxical Performances: Cruel Constraints and Christian Emancipation in 19–20th-Century Missionary Representations of Chinese Women and Girls
      (pp. 347-366)
      Shih-Wen Sue Chen

      In the 1850s, William Milne (1815–1863), who was sent to China in 1839 by the London Missionary Society (LMS), lamented that the stories in children’s textbooks and magazines were “revolting” because they “pamper[ed] this greed for stories of the cruel and heartless features in heathen nations” and filled children’s minds with “monstrous and hideous notions of their fellowmen.”¹ In his bookLife in China, Milne attempts to present a more accurate portrait of China and banish existing misconceptions of the Chinese.² Half a century after Milne criticised children’s texts for featuring the cruelty of the Chinese, children’s performance scripts...

    • 14. Bibles, Baseball and Butterfly Sleeves: Filipina Women and American Protestant Missions, 1900–1930
      (pp. 367-396)
      Laura R. Prieto

      Sometime before April in 1922, a group of women in Mindanao posed for a photograph. Two of them had come to the Philippines as missionaries from the United States. Four were Filipinas associated with the mission. It is difficult to image what occasion befits the range of clothing they wear. The Filipina women’s choice of fine attire—the elegantterno—denotes a formal celebration;¹ yet the youngest of them is dressed more casually and ala americana. The American women are all in white, one in almost the exact pattern of dress as the young Filipina, the other with a...

    • 15. The Materiality of Missionisation in Collingwood Bay, Papua New Guinea
      (pp. 397-428)
      Anna-Karina Hermkens

      The physical and mental transformation Henri Newton refers to was inscribed in Manua’s body during her two years stay in Dogura.² At the centre of the expanding Anglican Mission, she would learn all the female duties involved in missionary housekeeping. When brought back to Sinapa village by Samuel, she was no longer the young Manua who had just been initiated into womanhood, which was designated by her fresh facial tattoo, her fully decorated body rubbed with coconut and her newtapaskirt (see Figure 33).³ Decorations, oil andtapacloth are an essential part of Maisin bodily strength and well-being...

    • 16. A Saturated History of Christianity and Cloth in Oceania
      (pp. 429-454)
      Margaret Jolly

      Cloth and Christianity have long been seen as intimate partners in Oceania. The introduction of manufactured cloth—cambric,² calico, chintz, linen, serge and silk— from the mills of Manchester and New England and the workshops of China, the cultivation of the arts of sewing, quilting and embroidery and the adoption of Western-style clothing: modest dresses for women, demure trousers or laplaps for men, have all become iconic of Oceanic Christianity. Integral to the “before and after” story of indigenous conversion is the narrative of how Oceanic Christians “covered up” beautiful bare breasts, exposed bottoms or penises previously proudly displayed. In...

  10. Contributors
    (pp. 455-460)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 461-520)