Sexual Control and the Remaking of Gender: The Attempt of Nineteenth-Century Protestant Norwegian Women to Export Western Domesticity to Madagascar
- Journal of Women's History
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 12, Number 2, Summer 2000
- pp. 81-103
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This article explores how nineteenth-century Protestant women missionaries utilized categories of morality and religion, gender, sexuality, race, and class in an effort to elevate the status of "heathen" women through exporting a Western notion of women's domesticity. The case of a Lutheran boarding school for girls that the Norwegian Missionary Society established in Madagascar in 1872 is used to examine how these categories were sought, made, and remade through discipline and social control, and how those subjected to discipline and control limited the effectiveness of missionaries' efforts. Through close readings of missionary texts, it is possible to detect both subtle and not-so-subtle acts of resistance on the part of Malagasies living at the boarding school.