Welsh missionaries and British imperialism

The Empire of Clouds in north-east India

Andrew J. May

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ISBN: 978-0-7190-8035-7
Series: Studies in Imperialism
Subject Area: History
BIC Category: Colonialism & imperialism
Published: November 2012
234 x 156 mm
336 pages
Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Description
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • In 1841, the Welsh sent their first missionary Thomas Jones to evangelise the tribal peoples of the Khasi Hills of north-east India. This book follows Jones from rural Wales to Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth and now one of the most Christianised parts of India. As colonised colonisers, the Welsh were to have a profound impact on the culture and beliefs of the Khasis. The book also foregrounds broader political, scientific, racial and military ideologies that mobilised the Khasi Hills into an interconnected network of imperial control. Its themes are universal: crises of authority, the loneliness of geographical isolation, sexual scandal, greed and exploitation, personal and institutional dogma, individual and group morality. Written by a direct descendant of Thomas Jones, it makes a significant contribution in orienting the scholarship of imperialism to a much-neglected corner of India, and will appeal to students of the British imperial experience more broadly.

    General editor’s introduction
    Part I Preparations
    1. Some kind of preacher
    2. Voyaging: two places at once
    3. Networks and precursors
    Part II The flag on the mountain
    4. Drawing the frontier
    5. The tranquillity of the borders
    6. The richest collections
    7. Creatures of a day: Christian soldiers
    Part III The work on the Hills
    8. The banner of the cross
    9. Cultural transactions: the letter and the gift
    10. Intimacy and transgression
    Part IV The borderlands of law and belief
    11. The pen and the sabre
    12. The refulgent cross and the heathen carnival
    13. The country is ours
    Andrew J. May is Associate Professor of History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne
    [...] This book is thus an important part of the history of both missions and empire. It is very carefully put together, with complexity and nuance—as well as a beautiful writing style that made it a pleasure to read.
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