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The 'Incumberances'British Women in India, 1615-1856$
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Joan Mickelson Gaughan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198092148

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092148.001.0001

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Pilgrims in Petticoats: The Evangelicals

Pilgrims in Petticoats: The Evangelicals

(p.189) 14 Pilgrims in Petticoats: The Evangelicals
The 'Incumberances'

Joan Mickelson Gaughan

Oxford University Press

Evangelicalism allowed women to share in Britain’s ‘civilizing’ mission and also opened another genre of writing for women, the ‘conversion’ story or novel in which Mary Sherwood excelled. Besides the rift between Evangelicals and Orientalists, there seems also to have been one between ‘lay’ Evangelicals and missionary women and men. Lay women, more often than missionaries, saw Indians as irreparably depraved, while missionary women like Margaret Cooke Wilson were inclined to view Indians with more empathy. The zenana and sati which excited much discussion in official political and religious circles interested them less than educating girls especially in literacy, useful crafts, and hygiene. On the other hand, the interest in religion led several women to describe Indian creeds and ceremonies sympathetically, thus continuing the Orientalist thread in the response to India.

Keywords:   Evangelicalism, conversion story, Mary Sherwood, Margaret Cooke Wilson, zenana, sati

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