"but what a strange commixture am I": Borders of self and religion in the making of women's lives.
Fast, Kerry Louane.
323 leaves.
Microform, Thesis
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dissertation note
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Toronto, 2009.
general note
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 70-10, Section: A, page: .
I undertake a deep reading of the life writings of four nineteenth- and early twentieth-century women: Eliza Chipman (1807-1853), Debbie Barlow (1838-1860), Susie Rijnhart (1868-1908), and Agnes Wintemute Coates (1864-1945). I ask after the intimacies of their lives---familial tension, grief, clothing, aging, and friendships---while also situating them in their historical contexts. Employing theories of borderland religion, I situate religion-formation in the tension between the center and the periphery. Canada's boundary is the geo-political border that informs my dissertation, but I also look to metaphoric crossings: life/death; conversion, boundaries of self-formation.Chipman's was a life, geographically and religiously, of the center. Coming of age as the Second Great Awakening was waning in Nova Scotia, Chipman fostered an interior religiosity in her Memoir in which she rejected the enthusiastic experience of revival in favor of a more staid and predictable spirituality. Conforming to evangelical Baptist expectations, she developed a voice of authority that grew and developed over the course of her life.Fifteen-year-old Barlow of Vermont was sent to Montreal to be educated. Here she converted to Catholicism. She and two of her sisters (who also converted) died at a young age.Local author Julia Smalley collected Barlow's letters and edited them into a morality booklet entitled The Young Converts. Employing the liminality of conversion, Smalley's book also addressed American nativism and the tensions between Catholicism and Protestantism. Rijnhart, originally from Ontario, spent four years in Tibet as a missionary together with her husband. While traveling to Lhasa her son died and her husband was killed. Rijnhart recounted her extraordinary experiences in her popular book, With the Tibetans in Tent and Temple. Out of tragedy of her life, Rijnhart recreated her family---her husband became a martyr to the cause of evangelizing Tibet and she willing to sacrifice everything. Out of the disintegration of Tibet, Rijnhart reaffirmed the core of evangelical missionary values.Coates also from Ontario, went to Japan as a Methodist missionary. She gradually abandoned her evangelical beliefs and embraced New Thought and the Occult, also drawing on science and Japanese religions. Through the lens of her hybridized spirituality, she looked for new ways to embody her vocational ideals of bringing together East and West and to restore her family's wholeness out of its difficult past.
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