Historical knowledge

Imperial childhoods and Christian Mission

Making an important addition to the highly British-dominated field of imperial studies, this book shows that, like numerous other evangelicals operating throughout the colonized world at this time, Danish missionaries invested remarkable resources in the education of different categories of children in both India and Denmark.

Like other Christian missionaries operating throughout the colonized world, the Danish evangelicals who traveled to India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries invested remarkable resources in the upbringing and education of children. At the same time as they sent most of their own children back to Denmark, they took south Indian children into their care. Through an extensive literary production, they also show moresought to educate children in Denmark about the 'heathen' world. From the perspective of the Indo-Danish mission encounter, the book Imperial Childhoods and Christian Mission examines the heavy ideological weight that different categories of children in India and Denmark were made to carry in both local and imperial politics. Employing a postcolonial history of emotions approach, Karen Vallgårda documents the centrality of emotional labor to the changing imagination of childhood. This book reassesses general assumptions about the history of childhood within the Western world by probing its entanglements with broader imperial developments. It suggests that interactions between transnational actors in different parts of the colonized world contributed to the contemporary emotional and scientific reconfiguration of childhood. Furthermore, it shows how projects of rescuing 'brown' children from their parents and societies helped portray imperialism as a benevolent and justified endeavor.

Vallgårda, Karen A.A. (2014). Imperial childhoods and Christian Mission. Education and Emotions in South India and Denmark. London: Palgrave/MacMillan.

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