The Scottish contribution to missionary endeavour around the world in the 19th and early 20th century was, considering Scotland’s size and population, disproportionately significant. Numerous contemporary churches around the world trace their origins to the work of Scottish missionaries and missionary organisations. Many factors played a role in this extraordinary reach – primarily, of course, the Scottish role in the wider British Empire. Indeed, Scots, per capita, were more heavily involved in the Empire than the English.

Missionary history itself has traditionally been seen as a history of famous men, partly as a result of those who have entered the popular imagination, such as David Livingstone. And yet…

In the early 20th century, numerous Scottish women moved overseas as missionaries and as wives of male missionaries (in 1900, for example, 66% of Scottish missionaries were women (Devine, 2011: 204)). Their roles were influenced by the cultures in their country of origin and their new homes. This project seeks to understand the influence of these contexts on their lives, and to the examine the constraints and opportunities they had as women working across these cultures. In the present time of global cross-cultural tension and miscommunication, there is much that can be learnt from these cross-cultural pioneers.

We will be working on this project over the next few years, and will use this website to publicise key aspects of our work.

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