Motherhood and the Home: Indian Christian Domesticity

Eliza F. Kent

in Converting Women

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780195165074
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835171 | DOI:
 Motherhood and the Home: Indian Christian Domesticity

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This chapter argues that Protestant Christian women in the West were intrigued by the purdah system in India, partly because it resonated with patterns of gender segregation with which they were familiar. The aspects of the gender ideology embodied in purdah that were retained in the new hybrid discourse of femininity resulting from the interaction between Protestant missionaries and representatives of elite Indian culture are examined. This is followed by an analysis of the history of the zenana missions, tracking the changes in the strategies for the reform of Indian women and their relationship to the Indian home as the focus of missions shifted from elite to low-caste women.

Keywords: India; caste; women missionaries; zenana missions; purdah; Protestant Christians

Chapter.  18015 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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