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The Communion of WomenMissions and Gender in Colonial Africa and the British Metropole$
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Elizabeth E. Prevost

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570744

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570744.001.0001

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Christianizing Womanhood in Madagascar, 1901–1923

Christianizing Womanhood in Madagascar, 1901–1923

Chapter:
(p.120) 3 Christianizing Womanhood in Madagascar, 1901–1923
Source:
The Communion of Women
Author(s):

Elizabeth E. Prevost (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570744.003.0004

This chapter examines the next generation of Anglican women's mission work in Madagascar through the growth of the Mothers' Union, particularly under the leadership of Gertrude King. The MU supplemented women's evangelism in two ways. First, it offered a means of building a corporate Christian community that mitigated the secularist effects of French colonial policy. Second, it conceived a sacred, ritual function for motherhood in ‘high‐church’ terms that engaged both Malagasy and British religious expression and crafted a new basis for female authority in the mission church. However, the moral regulation of membership, particularly centred on divorce, exposed the limits of the MU as an inclusive, multiracial body.

Keywords:   mothers' union, Madagascar, French colonization, ritual, motherhood, divorce

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