Healing Bodies, Saving Souls

Medical Missions in Asia and Africa


Volume Editor:
Missionary medicine flourished during the period of high European imperialism, from the late-1800s to the 1960s. Although the figure of mission doctor – exemplified by David Livingstone and Albert Schweitzer – exercised a powerful influence on the Western imagination during the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, few historians have examined the history of this important aspect of the missionary movement. This collection of articles on Asia and Africa uses the extensive archives that exist on medical missions to both enrich and challenge existing histories of the clinic in colonial territories – whether of the dispensary, the hospital, the maternity home or leprosy asylum.
Some of the major themes addressed within include the attitude of different Christian denominations towards medical mission work, their differing theories and practices, how the missionaries were drawn into contentious local politics, and their attitude towards supernatural cures.
Leprosy, often a feature of such work, is explored, as well as the ways in which local people perceived disease, healing and the missionaries themselves. Also discussed is the important contribution of women towards mission medical work.
Healing Bodies, Saving Souls will be of interest not only to students and historians but also the wider reader as it aims to define the place of missionary within the overall history of medicine.

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David Hardiman is Professor of History at the University of Warwick. He carried out his doctoral research on modern Indian history at the University of Sussex, the thesis being published as Peasant Nationalists of Gujarat: Kheda District 1917–1934 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1981). He worked for many years in India at the Centre for Social Studies, Surat, and is the author of The Coming of the Devi: Adivasi Assertion in Western India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1987), Feeding the Baniya: Peasants and Usurers in Western India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), Gandhi in His Time and Ours (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2003), and Histories for the Subordinated (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2006). He is a founder member of the Subaltern Studies group, and has published several articles in Subaltern Studies, and edited one of the volumes.
"The articles here are of a consistently high standard, and form a stimulating and rewarding collection Healing bodies, saving souls is a welcome contribution that demonstrates the many fresh insights that can be gained from the proper use and analysis of missionary sources. It will be of considerable value to students, specialists, and generalists alike, and it provides a firm basis for future work…"
– in: Medical History 51/4 (2007), pp. 547-551

"[E]specially valuable to scholars of the specific regions discussed, yet also to students and anyone seeking an indication of the breadth of missionary medicine’s influence in the 19th and 20th centuries… a noteworthy contribution to the field."
– in: Wellcome History 37 (Spring 2008)
List of Illustrations

David HARDIMAN: Introduction
Michael C. LAZICH: Seeking Souls through the Eyes of the Blind: The Birth of the Medical Missionary Society in Nineteenth-Century China
Timothy MAN-KONG WONG: Local Voluntarism: The Medical Mission of the London Missionary Society in Hong Kong, 1842–1923
John R. STANLEY: Professionalising the Rural Medical Mission in Weixian, 1890–1925
David HARDIMAN: Christian Therapy: Medical Missionaries and the Adivasis of Western India, 1880–1930
James H. MILLS: Colonialism, Cannabis and the Christians: Mission Medical Knowledge and the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission of 1893–4
Linda Beer KUMWENDA: African Medical Personnel of the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa in Northern Rhodesia
Michael JENNINGS: ‘A Matter of Vital Importance’: The Place of the Medical Mission in Maternal and Child Healthcare in Tanganyika, 1919–39
Uoldelul Chelati DIRAR: Curing Bodies to Rescue Souls: Health in Capuchin’s Missionary Strategy in Eritrea, 1894–1935
Shobana SHANKAR: The Social Dimensions of Christian Leprosy Work among Muslims: American Missionaries and Young Patients in Colonial Northern Nigeria, 1920–40
John MANTON: Administering Leprosy Control in Ogoja Province, Nigeria, 1945–67: A Case Study in Government–Mission Relations

Notes on Contributors
Healing Bodies, Saving Souls will be of interest not only to students and historians but also the wider reader as it aims to define the place of missionary within the overall history of medicine.
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