South Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Christian Mission as Spatial Practice: Inscribing Sacrality in Urban South India in the 19th-Century

Thursday, March 22
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Marriott Balcony B, Mezzanine Level

This paper concerns American Protestant mission in 19th century south India, specifically the quotidian intercultural exchanges that mission comprised and the spatial practices and products of those interactions in two urban centers, Madurai and Chennai. These new spaces comprised built environments created by and for the work of Christianization, including residences, churches, schools, dispensaries and orphanages. Their production and valuation were underwritten by missionaries’ notions of sacrality and their perceptions of competing local sacralities. At the same time, rooted in the engagements of Hindu, Muslim and Christian actors, they were often hybrid spaces in design and furnishing, as well as in the racialized logics of placement and use. Together, these built forms made up a set of architectural, cultural and religious borderlands, shaped by and constitutive of colonial urban spaces, while also being products of and stages for Indo-American interactions, which existed in complicity with and as counterpoints to British imperial formations. I examine these issues through a comparison of mission spatiality in Madurai, a temple-centered settlement and node of medieval religio-political power, and Chennai, a colonial port city established by the East India Company in the 17th century. These aspects of the production of urban space reveal how religious convergences and frictions were entwined with the making of urban worlds in colonial South Asia and, further, how urban world-making helped extend a new American imperial formation, built on commercial, religious and educational networks, in the interstices of British empire. 

Mary Hancock

University of California, Santa Barbara, California

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Mary Hancock


Assets

1 - Christian Mission as Spatial Practice: Inscribing Sacrality in Urban South India in the 19th-Century



Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Christian Mission as Spatial Practice: Inscribing Sacrality in Urban South India in the 19th-Century