This collection of essays by eminent anthropologists, missiologists and historians explores the hitherto neglected topic of women missionaries and the effect of Christian missionary activity upon women. The book consists of two parts. The first part looks at 19th century women missionaries as presented in literature, at the backgrounds and experience of women in the mission field and at the attitudes of missionary societies towards their female workers. Although they are traditionally presented as wives and support workers, it becomes apparent that, on the contrary, women missionaries often played a culturally important role. The second and longest section asks whether women missionaries are indeed a special case, and provides some fascinating studies of the impact of Christian missions on women in both historical material and a wealth of contemporary material.
Of particular value is the perspective of those who were themselves objects of missionary activity and who reflected upon this experience. Women actively absorbed and adapted the teachings of the Christian missionaries, and Western models are seen to be utilized and developed in sometimes unexpected ways.
'I would strongly recommend this book to anyone, female and male alike, who would want to see justice done to our foremothers in the faith. The book not only informs, it also inspires and makes very pleasurable reading.' New Blackfriars '... a must for anyone, female and male alike, who wishes to take seriously the church's mission and who wants to see justice done to our foremothers in the faith.' Journal of Theology for Southern Africa '... a useful book ... an admirable absence of professional jargon." The Round Table "Like other volumes in this series, Women and Missions performs a valuable function in portraying women from a different perspective..." Mission Outlook '... the contributions of Sarah Lund Skar and Joan Burke on the themes of creation and celibacy, alone make the book worth reading.' The Expository Times 'The great value of this anthology is that it demonstrates that women have been active participants in the modern missionary movement and were often able to act as independent agents despite their officially subordinated status.' The American Anthropologist '...a compact volume which offers many carefully researched insights into the role of women in Christian missionary activity.' B.M.Nicholls, Rhodes University '... this is a solid volume with good bibliographies on an important topic.' International Bulletin '...a rich and varied source.' African Studies Review and Newsletter 'Essential reading for students of missionary and colonial encounters on that continent and elsewhere.' Journal of Religion in Africa 'Woman and Missions is a fascinating kaleidoscope: thirteen papers about women, all but two of them by women, drawn from various disciplines - social anthropology,history, religious studies, missiology, literature. African History "This collection is already proving a most useful addition to the excellent stream of publications issuing from Oxford University's Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women. The growing interest in gender history, in Western women and imperialism, in the female Africanization of Christianity, are all catered for. (...) The mission encounter has been so formative - and transformative - in indigenous women's lives that its thoughtful examination is long overdue. Women and missions provides some valuable starting-points." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies "This book admirably achieves what it sets out to do, namely bring to light and analyse certain social aspects of 'women's work' in overseas Christian missions from the early nineteenth century onwards. [...] All the chapters are of a high standard, and the editors must be congratulated on ensuring that, as the eye moves from one chapter to the next, the transition is smooth, which is remarkable for a set of essays such as this." JASO