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Gender, Conversion, And Social Transformation: The American Discourse Of Domesticity And The Origins Of The Bulgarian Women's Movement, 1857–1876

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the promotion of the American discourse of domesticity in Bulgarian-language publications in the Ottoman Empire, its reconfiguration by Bulgarian women, and the reaction to it of prominent Bulgarian newspapermen. It illuminates unintended consequences of an American Protestant project of conversion in a complex environment in the European heartlands of the Ottoman Empire, where competing ideas vied for influence. Urban Bulgarian women experienced transformation of social identity through their reconfiguration of the American cultural ideal of educated Christian womanhood as a consequence of their interaction with American evangelicalism. The Bulgarian women's movement is one knowledge-producing activity that illuminates the Orthodox Christian encounter with American missionaries in the Empire. The chapter also focuses on the ideological underpinnings of Bulgarian women's organizing activities in the decade before Bulgarian independence from Ottoman rule. It explains the interactions of missionaries and Bulgarian Christians in the complex political, cultural, and religious environment.

Keywords: American discourse of domesticity; American missionaries; Bulgarian women's movement; Ottoman Empire



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