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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Intersections of gender and race in the missionary correspondence of deaconess Anneliese Dörfer, East And South Africa, 1936-1967
Author:Kriel, LizeISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan
Volume:53
Issue:2
Pages:98-125
Language:English
Geographic terms:South Africa
Tanzania
Subjects:women
missions
gender roles
race relations
Protestant churches
letters
Abstract:This article traces the way Sister Anneliese Dörfer, a German deaconess, recorded and reported on constructions of gender and race during her thirty-year long interaction with Africans in the service of the Berlin Mission Society, first in British East Africa - in present-day Tanzania - (1936-1940) and then in the northern Transvaal, South Africa (1952-1967). Throughout this period, hierarchies seem to have been constructed in such ways that white women who wanted to build working relationships, or friendships, with black women and men, required a realization of the restrictions associated with their gender, as well as the privileges conjoined to their whiteness. By transgressing some and embracing others of the 'rules' imposed by colonial society and the State, white women could broaden their playing fields. Initially, in her early correspondence back to Germany, Dörfer expressed the desire to become as black as the members of her African congregations. She soon had to learn that 'becoming black' was unimaginable not only to the colonial officials and her male missionary employers, but also to the African congregations she was trying to integrate into. Through the years the realization came that it was not by becoming black, but by putting the privilege of whiteness at the disposal of African communities, that trans-racial friendships had value for Christians categorized as black. Notes, ref., sum. in English and Afrikaans. [Journal abstract]
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