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Contested identities

Catholic women religious in nineteenth-century England and Wales

Carmen M. Mangion

Roman Catholic women's congregations are an enigma of nineteenth century social history. Over 10,000 women, establishing and managing significant Catholic educational, health care and social welfare institutions in England and Wales, have virtually disappeared from history. In nineteenth-century England, representations of women religious were ambiguous and contested from both within and without the convent. This book places women religious in the centre of nineteenth-century social history and reveals how religious activism shaped the identity of Catholic women religious. It is devoted to evolution of religious life and the early monastic life of the women. Catholic women were not pushed into becoming women religious. On the basis of their available options, they chose a path that best suited their personal, spiritual, economic and vocational needs. The postulancy and novitiate period formed a rite of passage that tested the vocation of each aspirant. The book explores the religious activism of women religious through their missionary identity and professional identity. The labour of these women was linked to their role as evangelisers. The book deals with the development of a congregation's corporate identity which brought together a disparate group of women under the banner of religious life. It looks specifically at class and ethnicity and the women who entered religious life, and identifies the source of authority for the congregation and the individual sister.

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Welsh missionaries and British imperialism

The Empire of Clouds in north-east India

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Andrew J. May

In 1841, the Welsh sent their first missionary, Thomas Jones, to evangelise the tribal peoples of the Khasi Hills of north-east India. This book follows Jones from rural Wales to Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth and now one of the most Christianised parts of India. It is about the piety and practices, the perceptions and prejudices of people in early nineteenth century Wales. The book is also about the ways in which the religious ambitions of those same people operated upon the lives and ideas of indigenous societies of the distant Khasi Hills of north-eastern India. It foregrounds broader political, scientific, racial and military ideologies that mobilised the Khasi Hills into an interconnected network of imperial control. Its themes are universal: crises of authority, the loneliness of geographical isolation, sexual scandal, greed and exploitation, personal and institutional dogma, individual and group morality. In analysing the individual lives that flash in and out of this history, the book is a performance within the effort to break down the many dimensions of distance that the imperial scene prescribes. It pays attention to a 'networked conception of imperial interconnection'. The book discusses Jones's evangelising among the Khasis as well as his conflicts with church and state authority. It also discusses some aspects of the micro-politics of mission and state in the two decades immediately following Thomas Jones's death. While the Welsh missionary impact was significant, its 'success' or indeed its novelty, needs to be measured against the pre-existing activities of British imperialists.

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The spread of medical information

Medicine, and oral and print culture

Alun Withey

in Wales from the first editions of 1658 and onwards as late as the nineteenth century.40 Deeply rooted in oral traditions, and also written using dialects local to Carmarthenshire and Glamorgan, the brevity of Prichard’s verses made them easy to commit to memory and equally easily disseminated verbally.41 Many elements of oral culture also drew strongly from the printed word. Through oral channels such as minstrelsy and public recitation of ballads, even the unlettered poor could access a far greater range of ideas than might be expected.42 In medical terms, much

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Jocelyn Hackforth-Jones

. 4 Augustus Earle, Wentworth Falls (1830) Britain’s relationship with Australia and New Zealand in the latter part of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century was broadly external in the sense that it was one between a major colonizing power and its colonized ‘other’. The England-Wales

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A ‘reticent’ people?

The Welsh in Asia, c.1700–1815

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Andrew Mackillop

disincentive to research into Wales in the empire, the fact that the country experienced such limited emigration overseas provides an excitingly different challenge from the better-known Scottish and Irish examples, and points towards the need for qualitative as opposed to quantitative approaches. How might Welsh historical studies begin to answer the question: did Welshness matter in an imperial context? The existing lines of inquiry mirror the current emphasis on Wales’s place within the mid–to later nineteenth-century

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T. M. Devine

some extent in nineteenth century Ireland and Wales, but the collapse in Gaelic-speaking in northern Scotland was much greater and more rapid than in either Wales or Ireland. Between 1891 and 1901, for instance, the bilingual population as a proportion of the entire population fell by 5.3 per cent in Wales, remained stable in Ireland but declined by over 18 per cent in Scotland, and this pattern was maintained throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Between 1931 and 1951, the proportion of the bilingual population was reduced by no less than 66 per cent

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Alun Withey

, was a shared responsibility, and we should not necessarily see women as the sole providers of medical care and treatment within the home. At all levels of Welsh society, the main arena for sickness was undoubtedly the sufferer’s home. There were few formal places of medical care available in Wales beyond the home until the nineteenth century. The lack of large towns in Wales meant that, unlike even provincial English towns such as Bristol, where the infirmary appeared as early as 1736, formalised medical care was not an option for the majority of the population.3 In

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A place to speak the ‘language of heaven’?

Patagonia as a land of broken Welsh promise

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Trevor Harris

constituent of that identity and of the decision to emigrate to Patagonia. Writing about emigrants to America from Treherbert in the Rhondda Valley during the second half of the nineteenth century, for example, André Poulin underlines that ‘the migration question provoked a particular controversy in Wales’, and that it was ‘very quickly assimilated to debates about language’. 10 Despite the fact that Wales

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Carmen M. Mangion

’s religious and moral vocation were reconciled uneasily with the notion of the female professional.’ Religious activism, even if parochial, extended the boundaries of their identity and propelled many women religious into roles as administrators, educators and health care professionals.3 These professional roles became an important facet of their 1 2 3 An earlier version of this chapter was published as Carmen M. Mangion, ‘“Good Teacher” or “Good Religious”?: The Professional Identity of Catholic Women Religious in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales’, Women’s History

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Despairing doctors

Professional stress and suicide

Alannah Tomkins

notes, and while references to impugned masculinity are implicit in fears of financial failure, allusions to competitive practice are quite plain. The latter are particularly concerned with intra-generational conflict, where established medical men allegedly strove to curb the incomes, energies, and opportunities of medical students or junior colleagues. This chapter therefore first examines the role and visibility of the inquest in determining acts of suicide in nineteenth-century England and Wales. It then looks in more detail at the 285 medical deaths investigated