Civilizing Habits: Women Missionaries and the Revival of French Empire

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9780199922840: Civilizing Habits: Women Missionaries and the Revival of French Empire
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"This is scholarship at its finest. Sarah Curtis makes clear use of significant and complex sources, unweaving a tangled web of politics and power and empire-building--with all its assumptions about women as passive observers--to make her case for the extraordinary missionary efforts of French women in the aftermath of the French Revolution." --Magistra


"The three extraordinary lives at the center of Civilizing Habits demonstrate how religious women in nineteenth-century France could not only escape society's expectations; they could also play a key role in shaping their nation's empire. Sarah Curtis's excellent book offers a novel look at gender, faith, and colonialism in the modern world."-J.P. Daughton, author of An Empire Divided


"It's a measure of the significance of Sarah Curtis's manuscript that, while ostensibly about missionaries and empire, it addresses issues well beyond the primary topic, touching on the legacies of missionary activity in the context of recent events. By adopting the view of the missionaries themselves, Curtis seeks to restore historical richness to the personalities and projects of Catholic European missionaries. And by drafting the biographies of three missionaries - operating in distinct parts of the world, with very little overlap - she brings a comparative dimension to her work. Given that her missionaries operated in parts of the world where France had no serious imperial prospects - the American Midwest - as well as in parts of the world where it did - West Africa - she is able to disentangle convincingly the missionary impulse from the impulse to colonize. That is already a singular achievement for this work, but it's not the only one." -Raymond Jonas, University of Washington


"Sarah Curtis's manuscript makes a significant contribution to several fields - French history, the history of European imperialism, the history of religion, and the history of gender. I am genuinely impressed by the quantity and quali

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"Civilizing Habits opens new directions in French colonial history, drawing attention to the importance of the early nineteenth century in establishing the patterns of France's modern imperial goals and placing women religious at the center of the colonial project... Curtis succeeds remarkably in telling exciting individual stories of achievement while simultaneously revealing elements common to the experience of all three women... Curtis's book offers us a fresh look at the relationship between France, women, and empire." --Journal of Modern History"This is scholarship at its finest. Sarah Curtis makes clear use of significant and complex sources, unweaving a tangled web of politics and power and empire-building--with all its assumptions about women as passive observers--to make her case for the extraordinary missionary efforts of French women in the aftermath of the French Revolution." --Magistra"The three extraordinary lives at the center of Civilizing Habits demonstrate how religious women in nineteenth-century France could not only escape society's expectations; they could also play a key role in shaping their nation's empire. Sarah Curtis's excellent book offers a novel look at gender, faith, and colonialism in the modern world."-J.P. Daughton, author of An Empire Divided"It's a measure of the significance of Sarah Curtis's manuscript that, while ostensibly about missionaries and empire, it addresses issues well beyond the primary topic, touching on the legacies of missionary activity in the context of recent events. By adopting the view of the missionaries themselves, Curtis seeks to restore historical richness to the personalities and projects of Catholic European missionaries. And by drafting the biographies of three missionaries - operating in distinct parts of the world, with very little overlap - she brings a comparative dimension to her work. Given that her missionaries operated in parts of the world where France had no seri

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