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|Other Titles:||The concept of women’s sphere and its application to the studies of Protestant women missionaries and their work in nineteenth-century China: taking American Episcopal Church as an example|
women studies;religious studies;gender studies;Sino-American relations;Christianity;American Episcopal Church
|Issue Date:||2016-06-02 11:54:13 (UTC+8)|
This paper is to discuss to what extent the concept of women’s sphere can be applied to the studies of the Protestant women missionaries and their work in nineteenth-century China. There are three major sections in this paper and each section is well connected with one another. In the first section, the focus centers on the question of what the women’s sphere meant to women in nineteenth-century America as well as how historians understand its meaning and explore its impact on American women at that time. From their gender network and their activities in moral reform, temperance, benevolent work and suffrage, it is undoubtedly that American women overwhelmingly took this concept to develop their women’s sphere as a separate sphere from that of men. More important, Christianity, particularly Protestantism and its evangelical character, empowered women to challenge men’s authority and domination in the sphere of public affairs. While living in the tension between men and women, purity, piety, virtue and benevolent femininity all made women distinctive and gave them strength to engage in women associations for different purposes as they saw fit. As a result, religion helped women justify their efforts to pursue gender identity and self-fulfillment. In the second section, the focus places on the question of whether or not American women and their experience from exercising the concept of women’s sphere can be applied to women missionaries and their work in China in general. I argue that women missionaries did continue this exercise in a conscious or unconscious way. More than that, women missionaries tried to extend such gender sphere from America to China. In fact, women missionaries virtually connected women and their gender spheres in both countries together through their missionary work. In the third section, I intend to use American Episcopal Church, particularly its four women missionaries to China, as the case-in-point, to illustrate the struggles that women had suffered as they carried their concept of a separate women’s sphere first from women’s network within the Church in the U.S. to women missionaries in China, and second from women missionaries in China to those Chinese with whom they were associated or tried to approach to. In conclusion, with the help of this interdisciplinary approach, American Protestant women missionaries and their work in nineteenth-century China can be seen as a group of emissaries in culture, gender and religion.
|Relation:||政治大學歷史學報, 17, 115-146|
The Journal of History
|Appears in Collections:||[政治大學歷史學報 THCI Core ] 期刊論文|
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