Converting Women: Gender and Protestant Christianity in by Eliza F. Kent

By Eliza F. Kent

With the emergence of Hindu nationalism, the conversion of Indians to Christianity has turn into a unstable factor, erupting in violence opposed to converts and missionaries. on the peak of British colonialism, notwithstanding, conversion used to be a route to upward mobility for low-castes and untouchables, in particular within the Tamil-speaking south of India. during this ebook, Eliza F. Kent takes a clean examine those conversions, focusing specially at the adventure of ladies converts and the ways that conversion reworked gender roles and expectancies. Kent argues that the construction of a brand new, "respectable" group identification was once vital to the conversion procedure for the rural workers and artisans who embraced Protestant Christianity less than British rule. whilst, she indicates, this new id was once expert as a lot through elite Sanskritic customs and ideologies as via Western Christian discourse. Stigmatized via the dominant castes for his or her ritually polluting occupations and cozy ideas governing kinship and marriage, low-caste converts sought to validate their new higher-status id partly via the reform of gender relatives. those reforms affected beliefs of femininity and masculinity within the parts of marriage, domesticity, and get dressed. by way of the production of a "discourse of respectability," says Kent, Tamil Christians was hoping to counter the cultural justifications for his or her social, fiscal, and sexual exploitation by the hands of high-caste landowners and village elites. Kent's specialize in the interactions among Western ladies missionaries and the Indian Christian girls not just provides intensity to our knowing of colonial and patriarchal energy dynamics, yet to the intricacies of conversion itself. Posing a huge problem to normative notions of conversion as a privatized, person second in time, Kent's examine takes into account the ways in which public habit, social prestige, and the transformation of daily life tell spiritual conversion.

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