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Converting WomenGender and Protestant Christianity in Colonial South India$
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Eliza F. Kent

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195165074

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195165071.001.0001

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Motherhood and the Home: Indian Christian Domesticity

Motherhood and the Home: Indian Christian Domesticity

(p.127) 4 Motherhood and the Home: Indian Christian Domesticity
Converting Women

Eliza F. Kent (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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