Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Petrone

Abstract

My dissertation explores how the movement of missionaries across Asia responded to the currents of nationalism, decolonization, and the Cold War producing ideas about sovereignty, race, and religious rights. More specifically, it looks at how U.S. evangelicals in the China Inland Mission, an international and interdenominational mission society, collaborated with Christians in the Atlantic and Pacific worlds. While doing so it also details the oft-neglected study of the post-China careers of former China missionaries by extensive use of oral histories. Forced to abandon its only field by the Chinese Communist Party, the mission redeployed as the Overseas Missionary Fellowship sending agents to new nations such as Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand and amongst the overseas Chinese populations scattered across Southeast Asia. The last chapter looks at the OMF’s return to the People’s Republic of China as tourists and expatriates as the means by which “rapprochement” took on religious meanings. Ultimately, I argue missionary mobility produced ideas about religious freedom as a human right across the international community rooted in ambivalent, racialized attitudes toward Asians.

Included in

Asian History Commons

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