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Prisms of China : Canadian Women Missionaries in China, 1904-1945


Prisms of China : Canadian Women Missionaries in China, 1904-1945

Shulman, Deborah (2008) Prisms of China : Canadian Women Missionaries in China, 1904-1945. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis focuses on three remarkable Canadian women (Lena Jolliffe, Mary Lamb and Agnes Hilliard) who lived and worked in Sichuan, China as Christian missionaries during the chaotic first half of the twentieth century. The thesis is built around three overarching themes: the experiences of these three Westerners in China who were there as missionaries, as women and as Canadians; their contributions to China; and their impact back in Canada. The thesis consists of five chapters. The first chapter introduces the study, provides an overview of the relevant historical context in China, and surveys the available English-language scholarly secondary source materials. Chapters Two, Three and Four deal respectively with each of the women, beginning with biographical sketches; providing overviews of the available archival materials; piecing together chronologically and thematically their individual China experiences and observations; and concluding with thematically-driven analytical overviews of their China experiences. Chapter Five thematically and comparatively revisits the China journeys of the three women. The sources on which this thesis is based are the letters and diaries of the women which have been deposited in the United Church of Canada archives in Toronto. The recipients of the letters were almost always family members or church friends. These three heroic Canadian women missionaries were effectively windows on China whose writings extend our understanding of China and its people. The thesis suggests that as missionaries, these women were more highly integrated into China than many other Westerners; that as missionary women, they were uniquely able to have direct and sustained contact with Chinese women; and that as Canadians, they were treated differently from other Westerners, occasionally serving as power brokers at the local level. These three women and their colleagues impacted upon China simply by being there as alternative role models; by their educational activities and public health instruction; and by initiating the liberation of Chinese women from their traditional restraints. They also had a significant impact upon Canada, particularly through their letters and furlough visits, which enhanced Canadian understanding of China.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Shulman, Deborah
Pagination:vi, 446 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Thesis Supervisor(s):Singer, M
Identification Number:LE 3 C66H57P 2008 S38
ID Code:975217
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 15:44
Last Modified:13 Jul 2020 20:07
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