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HomeWomen missionaries in Islamic lands: roots, limits, changes (early 19th century - early 21st century)

Women missionaries in Islamic lands: roots, limits, changes (early 19th century - early 21st century)

Femmes missionnaires en terres d’islam : enracinements, limites, mutations (début XIXe siècle - début XXIe siècle)

Donne missionarie in terra islamica: radici, limiti, cambiamenti (inizio XIX secolo - inizio XXI secolo)

Mujeres misioneras en tierras islámicas: raíces, limites, cambios (principios del siglo XIX - principios del siglo XXI)

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Published on Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Abstract

Despite their numerical preponderance among the missionary workforce exercising a Christian apotolate at the end of the Ottoman Empire, women have long attracted less work than men. A rebalancing is in progress, spurred on by the gender studies and extended to the whole Muslim world. We will focus on real encounter and conflict situations, avoiding an essentialist approach to Islam and considering the extreme diversity of the field strategies and practices. This approach will be carried out in equal parts, in a decentering and critical way, far from denominational approaches.

Announcement

Annual conference of the Center for research and studies on the diffusion and inculturation of Christianity (Credic)

Rome, 18-21 november 2024

Casa Valdese and Centre Saint Louis de France To the Holy See

Argument

In the 1930s, the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition living in Nablus (Palestine, then under the British Mandate) were indignant about the "inferior situation" of the city's Muslim women. The inequalities of Muslim society were blatantly obvious to them, and the lives of women, who were married early, worn out by work (in the poorest sections of the population) or confined to their homes (in good society) were unenviable. However, by the end of the Ottoman Empire, most of the Christian missionaries working in the Empire were women: in these unequal societies, which were perceived as so unfavourable to women, female missionaries were able to gain acceptance and develop their apostolate.

Despite this numerical superiority, the work of women missionaries has been less studied than that of men. In recent years, a number of studies have redressed this balance. Like men, women ran schools and worked in hospitals (as nurses rather than doctors) or dispensaries. Like the men, they took part in charitable and/or humanitarian actions. More than men, women are said to have greater access to the intimacy of homes and families: they intervene (or try to do so) in marriages. They are also closer to children (whom they sometimes baptise in articulo mortis), women (prostitutes) or men (slaves, prisoners) living on the fringes of society. Research has

also examined the influence of these women missionaries on the place of women in local and Muslim societies: how did they contribute to the emancipation of women? More recently, gender studies have contributed to renewing these questions: what vision of women, men and their respective social roles did the women missionaries have? What conception of femininity or masculinity do they convey? Other areas remain to be explored: the identity and sociology of these women missionaries and their auxiliaries are still poorly understood. Their influence on the societies that provided them with missionaries has not been much studied: what images of Islam, Muslims and Muslim women did these women missionaries convey to their societies of origin?

These are the questions that will guide the participants in the conference, which aims to examine this dual singularity, that of the 'feminine' mission and that of the mission in Islamic lands.

Chronological framework

The chronological framework is deliberately broad, so as not to be limited to missions in a colonial context, and to reflect on the transformations of the missionary apostolate in the context of independent states. Finally, we will endeavour to grasp the specific nature of the roots linked to the most contemporary missionary flows, for example those linked to neo-Pentecostal initiatives aimed at Muslim societies.

Geographical framework

The geographical scope of the conference is broad enough to avoid limiting it to the Arab world or the Middle East, and to approach the lands of Islam in all their diversity. The interest of the conference is to decompartmentalise approaches that are often thought of by "continent" in a comparative perspective.

Conceptualization

An approach based on an essentialized and disembodied vision of Islam will be avoided in order to highlight the encounters of these missionaries with Muslims: the aim is to give priority to concrete, real-life situations.

Scientific directors

Chantal Verdeil (Inalco/CERMOM) & Didier Galibert (LAM Sciences Po Bordeaux)

Submission guidelines

Working languages: French and English.

Proposals for papers (accompanied by a short biographical note and a summary) should be sent to Didier Galibert (galibertdidier@orange.fr) and Chantal Verdeil (chantal.verdeil@inalco.fr )

by 15 May 2024.

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Places

  • Institut français - Centre Saint-Louis, - Largo Giuseppe Toniolo 20-22
    Rome, Italian Republic

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


Date(s)

  • Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Keywords

  • femme, congrégation féminine, islam, famille, mariage, enseignement, émancipation, réformisme musulman, genre, prostitution

Contact(s)

  • Chantal VERDEIL
    courriel : chantal [dot] verdeil [at] inalco [dot] fr

Information source

  • Didier GALIBERT
    courriel : galibertdidier [at] orange [dot] fr

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Women missionaries in Islamic lands: roots, limits, changes (early 19th century - early 21st century) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/w1vy

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