This volume is the first to examine at length and in detail the impact of the missionary experience on American cultural, political, and religious history.
This collection of 15 essays provides a fully developed account of the domestic significance of foreign missions from the 19th century through the Vietnam War. U.S. and Canadian missions to China, South America, Africa, and the Middle East have, it shows, transformed the identity and purposes of their mother countries in important ways. Missions provided many Americans with their first significant exposure to non-Western cultures and religions. They helped to establish a variety of new academic disciplines in home universitiesOColinguistics, anthropology, and comparative religion among them. Missionary women helped redefine gender roles in North America, and missions have vitalized tiny local churches as well as entire denominations, causing them to rethink their roles and priorities, both here and abroad. In fact, missionaries have helped define our own national identity by influencing our foreign, trade, military, and immigration policies over the last two centuries.
Topics in the collection range from John Saillant's essay on the missions of free African Americans to Liberia in the 19th century to Grant Wacker's essay on the eventual disillusionment of noted writer Pearl S. Buck. Kathryn T. LongOCOs essay on the OC Auca martyrsOCO offers a sobering case study of the missionary establishment's power to, in tandem with the evangelical and secular press, create and record the stories of our time. William L. Svelmoe documents the improbable friendship between fundamentalist Bible translator William Cameron Townsend and MexicoOCOs secular socialist president Lizaro Cirdenas. And Anne Blue Wills details the ways many American groupsOCoblack, Protestant, Catholic, and MormonOCosought to convert one another, stead-
fastly envisioning OC othersOCO as every bit as OC heathenOCO as those in far-off lands.
"The Foreign Missionary Enterprise at Home" is an insightful, provocative collection that will stimulate much discussion and debate. It is valuable for academic libraries and seminaries, scholars of religious history and American studies, missionary groups, cultural historians and ethnographers, and political scientists. "