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Race and Redemption
British Missionaries Encounter Pacific Peoples, 1797-1920
PAPERBACK; Published: 11/6/2017
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7535-8
Price: $ 52.99
284 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6.125 x 9.25
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Race and Redemption is the latest volume in the Studies in the History of Christian Missions series, which explores the significant, yet sometimes controversial, impact of Christian missions around the world.

In this historical examination of the encounter between British missionaries and people in the Pacific Islands, Jane Samson reveals the paradoxical yet symbiotic nature of the two stances that the missionaries adopted—"othering" and "brothering." She shows how good and bad intentions were tangled up together and how some blind spots remained even as others were overcome. Arguing that gender was as important a category in the story as race, Samson paints a complex picture of the interactions between missionaries and native peoples—and the ways in which perspectives shaped by those encounters have endured.
Michael W. Scott
— London School of Economics & Political Science
“Jane Samson boldly identifies theological anthropology as the key to understanding how, at the height of European imperialism, British Protestant missionaries in the Pacific emerged as figures who confound modernist categories: they were religious men of empirical science, Christian cognoscenti of pagan pasts, and colonial abrogators of racial barriers. Offering nuanced readings of diverse sources, Samson’s thematic study shows how the missionaries’ commitment to a distinctively biblical ontology of human unity informed strategies that extended Christian inclusivity to many aspects of Victorian science and Pacific Island cultures.”
John Gascoigne
University of New South Wales
“Drawing on a wide body of sources, this major study illuminates the way in which missionaries sought to understand the Other. In doing so, it provides a fresh and significant perspective on the history of culture contact in the Pacific.”
Helen Gardner
— Deakin University
“Jane Samson’s landmark study pours theology into history to explore how missionaries grappled with alterity in the Pacific in the 19th and early 20th centuries and contributed to or challenged the emerging discipline of anthropology. Her tropes of ‘othering’ and ‘brothering’ probe the tensions between missionary recognition of human difference and the Christian imperative to breach these distinctions. . . . This empirically based analysis of the theological anthropology of Christian mission in the Pacific is a powerful and innovative history.”