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Life as ordinary
Hugh Morrison

This chapter examines the third overlapping narrative lens – that of missionary children. It picks up on the first of two interwoven narrative threads – ‘life as ordinary’. Interviewees referred to such things as family life, the home, language, food, mission personnel, recreation and schooling as key elements of their childhood memories. The chapter therefore highlights representative features of these domestic lives, giving prominence to ex-children’s oral memories and reflections, together with other published and non-published sources. Three main analytical emphases are domesticity, primary education and play. In so doing it uses oral history sources to discern how historical participants curate or make sense of their childhoods, while also considering such narratives as both culturally constructed and negotiated. The chapter argues that these experiences, while common across mission settings, differed according to things like the age of the child, family dynamics, parental disposition, cultural and political settings, decade and gender. It concludes by reflecting on the nature of memory and the role of emotional narratives in terms of their imprint on memory. Children’s narratives are primarily emotional narratives.

in Protestant missionary children’s lives, c.1870–1950
Life as complicated
Hugh Morrison

This chapter extends the examination of the third overlapping narrative lens – that of missionary children. It picks up on the second of two interwoven narrative threads – ‘life as complicated’. Three broad themes emerge – identity, mobility and family separation. Interviewees indicated that while complications occurred most often in their daily domestic spaces, these were amplified further through the complexities of travel, relocation and family separation which, for the most part, related to or were compelled by the perceived educational needs of the children or the changed circumstances of their families. Again, the interviews and memoirs reveal that these complications varied with respect to things like family dynamics, personality, place in the family, gender, geographical or cultural location, decade and politics but were also further complicated by such exigencies as war, ill health and death. The chapter argues that this facet of missionary children’s lives is helpfully elaborated through a close analysis of three emphases that cut across the themes. One is ‘complex experiences’, using language, mobility and varied educational experiences. A second is children’s separation from families, examined from children’s perspectives and as a further, more complex, example of emotional labour. Here a case study of the Scottish missionary children’s homes indicates that ‘emotional frontiers’ rather than ‘emotional communities’ is better applied as an analytical concept. The third emphasis is on the formation of identity and the legacy of missionary childhoods for later adult lives.

in Protestant missionary children’s lives, c.1870–1950
Abstract only
Hugh Morrison
in Protestant missionary children’s lives, c.1870–1950
Hugh Morrison

This chapter examines the second overlapping narrative lens – that of the employing institutions. Such narratives were oftentimes catalysed by parents’ concerns, which in turn led to consequent organisational debates and policy making. The chapter argues that there was a clear, but not always exclusive, convergence between family narratives emphasising separation or disadvantage and institutional narratives focused on mitigation of these problems. Within this convergence emerged the dilemma that parenthood posed for adults motivated towards missionary service, and how this impinged on both mission policy and pragmatics. Institutional narratives reveal primarily a discourse that stressed the impact of separation on parents. The chapter addresses three key elements. First, it outlines how children were variously thought about and represented in policy making, using selected British or Anglo-world examples and building on literary representations previously considered. Second, it examines the phenomenon of children’s missionary homes as an expression of the institutionalisation of separation, indicating how an emotional discourse of domestic stability and happiness was used to represent these homes to church constituencies. Third, it indicates how institutional narratives began to change. The 1930s marked a partial turning point in official rhetoric, with the emergence of an academic and professional discourse that moved towards a more child-centred approach to missionary children’s lives.

in Protestant missionary children’s lives, c.1870–1950
Abstract only
Children, missions, empire and emotions
Hugh Morrison

The Introduction outlines a rationale for writing a history of Protestant missionary children. It traverses key trends in the scholarship, provides a broad conceptual framework and fleshes out lines of argument for each chapter. It argues that historical missionary children’s lives were complex and variegated. A focus on just one dominant analytical category (such as family separation) or on solely negative readings of their lives results in reductionist or emasculated historical understanding. Therefore, it engages with these complexities by expanding the historical and conceptual parameters. It locates the topic within the broader history of the Protestant missionary movement. As such, it indicates ways in which missionary children have been absent from this historiography while, at the same time, historians in other sub-fields have added value to what we know. Beyond this, the chapter provides an introduction to four conceptual foci that variously inform analysis throughout this book: the relationship between imperial and religious histories; histories of childhood; histories of emotion; and space/sites. The chapter concludes with an outline of the methodologies employed, their rationale and a broad map of the chapters that follow.

in Protestant missionary children’s lives, c.1870–1950
Abstract only
Hugh Morrison

This chapter examines the first overlapping narrative lens – that of missionary parents. It argues that parental narratives, focused primarily on the family and domestic issues, should be the starting point. The family provided the primary parameters for children’s lives and was the reference point by which children often interpreted their own experiences and memories. It focuses on the narratives around missionary children that were constructed primarily by parents and in family settings, especially as they emerged through the early decades of the twentieth century. After outlining the changing demographic shape of missionary families, the chapter considers the religious underpinnings of parents’ narratives. It then examines these narratives further, arguing that while domestic details were to the fore, a deeper set of anxieties lay at their core: the maintenance of family life, keeping healthy and attaining a good education for their children. These were emotionally framed and were further bolstered by a religious rationale. As a result, missionary children became caught up in a perpetual set of negotiations over the best places to live, how to stay healthy, and especially where to be educated. Therefore, in parents’ narratives about their children, dislocation and separation emerge as important themes because they caused parents much anxiety. As such missionary parenting, both its realities and its representations, can be conceptualised as a particular form of emotional labour.

in Protestant missionary children’s lives, c.1870–1950
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Missionary children inhabiting imperial and colonial spaces
Hugh Morrison

This final chapter returns to the spaces inhabited by children, namely those constructed through imperial and colonial processes. It returns more explicitly to thinking of such spaces as complex ‘sites’ experienced by children and which were simultaneously physically, socio-spatially and emotionally constructed. Drawing again primarily on children’s autobiographical material, it argues that children physically, mentally and emotionally navigated their way within and between a range of imperial sites, wittingly or unwittingly mediating empire or militating against it at various points. Three areas of emphasis are considered by way of indicative illustration. One is children’s relationships with Indigenous mission personnel, especially those with child-minding roles like the ayah in India or amah in China. A second is mobility as a way of living in empire, creating porous boundaries between places and complicating such notions as ‘home’ and ‘abroad’. The third is missionary architecture, using one child’s response in China to missionary parents’ appropriation of traditional religious or cultural spaces as a case study. Overall, this chapter considers such spaces as ‘feeling spaces’ and as further examples of the ‘emotional frontiers’ encountered and navigated by missionary children.

in Protestant missionary children’s lives, c.1870–1950
Empire, religion and emotion
Author:

Missionary children were an important but relatively hidden part of the modern Protestant missionary movement. As ‘empire citizens’ their lives were shaped by both political and religious contexts or imperatives. This book brings to light the lives, experiences and feelings of a range of children born into British world missionary families. It develops new ground in two ways. First, it takes a comparative approach that includes children mainly from Britain (especially Scotland) and settler societies like New Zealand as well as the the United States of America. Second, it focuses on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As such it offers a new contextual and relational model by which to understand their historical lives. It argues that three different perspectives need to be held in tension. These include the stories told by parents, institutions and the children. To do so it uses a combination of archival, published and oral history sources. Furthermore, it explores the ways in which missionary children were represented through popular literature and negotiated their way within spaces defined by imperialism and colonialism. It draws on scholarship from childhood and emotions history as a way of differentiating their lives further. From this comparative study, missionary children’s historical lives emerge as a complex mix of ordinary and complicated. Their lives were kaleidoscopic rather than monochrome. Children were both the authors of their own lives and the products of their unique contexts.

Missionary children inhabiting literary spaces
Hugh Morrison

Chapter 1 focuses on missionary children as inhabitants of the vibrant and extensive religious and secular literary spaces ubiquitous throughout the period under study. Public and denominational newspapers or periodicals, books and novels are the main sources examined. Both adult and child readers are considered. It argues that through this literature the wider reading public most often encountered missionary children. This was a constitutively important encounter. Conceptually the chapter suggests that literature, as a site, formed a mixture of emotional community, culture contact zone and imperial textual commons. Here missionary children were encountered and ‘known’. These literary spaces served simultaneously as points of imperial contact and commonality, doubly drawing together juvenile readers into the orbit of a shared emotional community with their missionary peers and inscribing missionary children as both an exotic focus and a cause for collective concern. At the same time, missionary children were drawn into fellow commonality with their peers in countries of origin, sometimes speaking for themselves while often filling the role of ‘other’. Through such representations, certain public perceptions of missionary children were formed, cemented and sustained over many decades that were often pejorative or negatively framed and from which missionary children emerged as objects of pity. This is illustrated through a case study of a disaster in northeast India in 1899. In the longer term, this literature helped to feed or sustain identifiable adult-centric narratives, which are the focus of the following chapters.

in Protestant missionary children’s lives, c.1870–1950
The causes and legacies of partition
Editors: and

This book is the first study of political and legal thinking about the partitions of India and Palestine in 1947. It explains how these two formative moments collectively contributed to the disintegration of the European colonial empires and unleashed political forces whose legacies continue to shape the modern politics of the Middle East and South Asia. The chapters in the volume, authored by leading scholars of partition, draw attention to the pathways of peoples, geographic spaces, colonial policies, laws and institutions that connect them from the vantage point of those most engaged in the process: political actors, party activists, jurists, diplomats, writers and international representatives from the Middle East, South Asia and beyond. Additionally, the volume investigates some of the underlying causes of partition in both places, such as the hardening of religious fault lines, majoritarian politics and the failure to construct viable forms of government in deeply divided societies. Finally, this book analyses why, even seventy-five years after partition, the two regions have not been able to address some of the pertinent historical, political and social debates of the colonial years. It moves the debate about partition away from the imperial centre, by focusing on ground level arguments about the future of postcolonial India and Palestine and the still unfolding repercussions of those debates.