Creating Religious Childhoods in Anglo-World and British Colonial Contexts, 1800-1950: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Creating Religious Childhoods in Anglo-World and British Colonial Contexts, 1800-1950

1st Edition

Edited by Hugh Morrison, Mary Clare Martin


336 pages

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Drawing on examples from British world expressions of Christianity, this collection further greater understanding of religion as a critical element of modern children’s and young people’s history. It builds on emerging scholarship that challenges the view that religion had a solely negative impact on nineteenth- and twentieth-century children, or that ‘secularization’ is the only lens to apply to childhood and religion. Putting forth the argument that religion was an abiding influence among British world children throughout the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries, this volume places ‘religion’ at the center of analysis and discussion. At the same time, it positions the religious factor within a broader social and cultural framework. The essays focus on the historical contexts in which religion was formative for children in various ‘British’ settings denoted as ‘Anglo’ or ‘colonial’ during the nineteenth and early- to mid-twentieth centuries. These contexts include mission fields, churches, families, Sunday schools, camps, schools and youth movements. Together they are treated as ‘sites’ in which religion contributed to identity formation, albeit in different ways relating to such factors as gender, race, disability and denomination. The contributors develop this subject for childhoods that were experienced largely, but not exclusively, outside the ‘metropole’, in a diversity of geographical settings. By extending the geographic range, even within the British world, it provides a more rounded perspective on children’s global engagement with religion.


"If you believe that childhood represents a formative period of psychological development and a lens through which new experiences and knowledge—religious or otherwise—are filtered, you will want to incorporate essays such as the ones provided in Creating Religious Childhoods into your work." - Joy Schulz, Metropolitan Community College

"Overall, this is a very rich and fascinating volume. Because it deals with majority Christian subjects and themes alone there is clearly great scope for follow-up research into other childhoods in other religious contexts, spatially and temporally." - Stephen Parker, University of Worcester

Table of Contents


List of Figures


Introduction: Contours and Issues in Children’s Religious History

Hugh Morrison and Mary Clare Martin


Part One: Missions, Families and Childhood

1. Making missions through (re)making children: Non-kin domestic intimacy in the London Missionary Society’s work in late-nineteenth-century north India

Rhonda Semple

2. Making missionary children: Religion, culture and juvenile deviance

Emily Manktelow

3. Play, missionaries and the cross-cultural encounter in global perspective, 1800-1870

Mary Clare Martin


Part Two: Educational approaches and opportunities

4. Sunday school prizes and books in early-nineteenth-century America

David Greenspoon

5. Methodist childhoods: The education and formation of the young Methodist in Australia and Fiji, 1900-1950

Christine Weir

6. Leadership (with Fun and Games) instead of Domestic Service: Changing African Girlhood in a Johannesburg Mission, 1907-1940

Deborah Gaitskell


Part Three: Literature and Discourses

7. ‘Children of Silence’: Disability, childhood and Christian suffering in nineteenth-century Britain

Esme Cleall

8. ‘Nearly all are supported by children’: Charitable Childhoods in Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century Literature for Children in the British World

Margot Hillel

9. Making Kiwi Christians: Children and religion in the House of Reed

Geoffrey Troughton


Part Four: Religious Communities and Citizenship

10. Signs and graces: Children’s experiences of confirmation in New Zealand, 1920s-1950s

Grace Bateman

11. A ‘Religion of the Backwoods’: Religion and the Canadian Boy Scout Movement in the interwar period

James Trepanier

12. Service, sacrifice and responsibility: Religion and Protestant settler childhood in New Zealand and Canada, c. 1860-1940

Hugh Morrison


Notes on Contributors



About the Series

Studies in Childhood, 1700 to the Present

Studies in Childhood, 1700 to the Present

This series recognizes and supports innovative work on the child and on literature for children and adolescents that informs teaching and engages with current and emerging debates in the field. Proposals are welcome for interdisciplinary and comparative studies by humanities scholars working in a variety of fields, including literature; book history, periodicals history, and print culture and the sociology of texts; theater, film, musicology, and performance studies; history, including the history of education; gender studies; art history and visual culture; cultural studies; and religion.

Topics might include, among other possibilities, how concepts and representations of the child have changed in response to adult concerns; postcolonial and transnational perspectives; "domestic imperialism" and the acculturation of the young within and across class and ethnic lines; the commercialization of childhood and children's bodies; views of young people as consumers and/or originators of culture; the child and religious discourse; children's and adolescents' self-representations; and adults' recollections of childhood.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain
RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Children