"Truth of any kind is food for the soul."

The Rev. Jesse Caswell, 1841

Monday, December 3, 2012

Presbyterian Missionaries in Context

The historical study of Christianity in northern Thailand lacks for focused investigations of the role of the Presbyterian missionaries in 19th and early 20th century "modernization," so called.  The missionaries frequently claimed for themselves a major role in what they called the "civilization" (by which they meant most specifically the Americanization) of the North, and there is some reason to think that they did play an important role in introducing the North to the influences of Europe and the United States.  Ian Bushell's M.A. thesis, "Merchants and Missionaries: the Place of the Lanna States of Siam in the Informal Empire of Great Britain Between 1883 and 1921." puts the missionaries into the larger context of events in the North, showing how their activities meshed with those of other Westernizing forces in the North.  To date, however, this study hasn't been available more widely.  With the author's permission, it now "resides" on herbswanson.com and is so available.