The Conversion and Education of the Indigenous People Groups of the Americas
The indigenous people groups of the Americas whom early missionaries encountered in South Carolina, for example, posed different questions of power, identity and exchange to enslaved Africans forcibly transferred across the Atlantic. There were reciprocal relationships of trade, exchange, and care-giving essential to the survival of the fledgling English communities and their parishes. Finance and war were often entangled: mutual dependency ensured survival, but colonial traders also instigated disruption in order to engender opportunities for enslavement that then put the colonial outposts at risk. It also created a tense and difficult space for mission which played out in international diplomacy, the establishment of schools, and inequities of power that destroyed trust; negotiation rather than subjugation continued to be an essential strategy for survival in the early part of the eighteenth century.
This collection foregrounds the importance of who gets to tell stories and how. Literacy and books – as artefacts and objects of translation – remain key to communication and exchange. There is also an intimate intersection between matters of pastoral care and the development of natural philosophy which situates SPG’s missionaries firmly within the European and transatlantic republic of letters.
Marisa J. Fuentes, Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archives (Philadelphia, 2016).
Ulinka Rublack, ed., Protestant Empires: Globalizing the Reformations (Cambridge, 2020).
Brent Sirota, The Christian Monitors: The Church of England and the Age of Benevolence, 1680-1730 (Yale, 2014).