Gendered Remembrance: Women in the Dutch Calvinist Mission and its Historiography, c. 1900-1942

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    Abstract

    This article reassesses women’s acknowledgement in Dutch Calvinist mission history by looking at women’s imagined place in the Dutch Calvinist missionary community between 1900 and 1942. It does so by looking at women’s position in the NZG’s (Dutch Missionary Society) mission to East Java and the UZV’s (Utrecht Mission Society) mission to Papua at three intersecting levels: institutional incorporation, the lived experience of two missionary women, and women’s representation in biographical texts published in mission journals. The article demonstrates how the narrative concerning women’s aptitude for domestic and social work that permeated all three levels of analysis could paradoxically serve as both an argument for the integration of women workers in Dutch mission and as a marginalisation strategy by reserving the mission’s conceived primary aim of Christianisation for men. This has consequences for the acknowledgement of women in the relevant historiography. Fully appreciating women’s role in Dutch Calvinist mission means reconfiguring what mission was about, including its ideas about the public and the private, social work and Christianisation, and the permeability between these two domains. In order to do so, mission history should look beyond its own imagined borders and give attention to its national, colonial, and international missionary contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)285-308
    JournalTrajecta : religie, cultuur en samenleving in de Nederlanden
    Volume24
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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