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In God’s EmpireFrench Missionaries and the Modern World$
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Owen White and J.P. Daughton

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195396447

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396447.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 July 2021

Creating “The People of God”: French Utopian Dreams and the Moralization of Africans and Slaves

Creating “The People of God”: French Utopian Dreams and the Moralization of Africans and Slaves

Chapter:
(p.47) 2 Creating “The People of God”: French Utopian Dreams and the Moralization of Africans and Slaves
Source:
In God’s Empire
Author(s):

Troy Feay

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396447.003.0002

Focusing on the early to mid-nineteenth century, this chapter argues that the desire to create utopias—the aspiration for a moral mission of social transformation—was an underlying motivation that united administrators and missionaries while locking them into conflicts over methods and authority. Just before and after France’s abolition of slavery in 1848, specific projects aimed at improving the lives of the enslaved demonstrated both the experiential piety that guided Catholic missionary utopian visions and the corresponding secular utopian visions that foresaw productive colonial populations contributing to the glory of the French nation. The conflicts that resulted between missionaries and officials allowed colonized peoples the space to use religious experience to create communities that could challenge European political and cultural authorities.

Keywords:   utopianism, slavery, moralization, political authority, cultural authority, experiential piety

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