Title"In the image of God"
NameBurlingham, Kate (author), Adas, Michael (chair), Kaplan, Temma (co-chair), Clemens, Paul (internal member), Foglesong, David (internal member), Carruthers, Susan (internal member), Mamdani, Mahmood (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Faith missions movement--Angola,
United States--Foreign relations--Angola,
Angola--Foreign relations--United States,
DescriptionThis dissertation provides a social, political, and global history of the Congregational mission movement in Angola. Around the world, Protestant American missions provided the non-western world with their first introduction to the US. And yet, the history of Protestant missionaries has not been fully integrated into histories about US relations with the world. Set between 1879 and 1975, “In the image of God” argues that America’s direct engagement in African affairs did not begin in the 1960s, as many studies assume, but nearly eighty years earlier, when Protestant missionaries first arrived in Angola intent on making direct political and social contacts with Africans. The fruits borne from this engagement not only altered the course of Angolan history but have affected the US’s official relations with the region into the post-cold war era. Despite good intentions, Congregational missionaries’ relations with Angolans were paternalistic. My study exposes how these mission relations would eventually influence post-World War II discussions about universal human rights. When missionaries arrived in Angola in 1879, they expected Angolans to conform to their idea of a proper western Christian lifestyle. By the middle of the twentieth-century, this relationship had changed and Angolans were in control of the shape and message of the Congregational Church, ultimately using mission connections to organize anti-colonial resistance. Congregational missionaries willfully ignored the signs that their congregants had transformed the missions’ original message and made it their own. When concerns about safety compelled most missionaries to leave Angola in the late 1960s, they were unable to disengage from Angolan politics. Instead, they seized upon the language of liberation and human rights to justify the continuation of their own colonialist relations with Angola. Using research conducted in Angola, South Africa, Portugal, Switzerland, and the United States, I offer a cautionary tale about the complexities of US relations in the world. My dissertation not only exposes the various forces at play during the US's emergence as a world power over the course of the 20th century, but raises important questions about the impact of this legacy on today's humanitarian projects.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Kate Burlingham
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.