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“Long, Long Will She Be Affectionately Remembered”: Gender and the Memorialization of an American Female Missionary

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For more content, please see Le Fait Missionnaire.

This article traces the transformation of gender within nineteenth century American Protestant missions, through comparing the life and post-humus memorializations of Sarah Lanman Smith, a missionary for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Ottoman Syria during 1830s. Through examining the ways that Sarah defined her own identity and gender in relation to different commemorations of her life and work, this article demonstrates that 'Sarah' was increasingly read through the lens of an narrowed binary of gender. This was done through selectively editing her history in a manner that focused upon the education of women and girls, thus affirming the emerging concept of 'women's work for women'. In so doing, this article re-introduces the life of Sarah Smith, deconstructs the way that she was remembered, and presents a new perspective on the dynamic and ever-changing culture that supported and defined nineteenth century Protestant missions. L'article retrace la transformation du genre au sein des missions américaines au 19ème siècle au travers d'une analyse de la vie et des mémorialisations posthumes de Sarah Lanman Smith, une missionnaire de l'American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, qui travailla en Syrie ottomane durant les années 1830. L'article montre, au travers d'une analyse de l'identité et du genre de Sarah et de l'analyse de commémorations de sa vie et de son travail que « Sarah » devint avec le temps de plus en plus comprise au travers d'un prisme binaire du genre. Cette réduction s'opéra par l'édition sélective de son histoire qui se centra dorénavant sur l'éducation des femmes et des filles, confirmant ainsi le concept émergent du « travail de femme pour les femmes ». Ce faisant, l'article restore la vie de Sarah Smith, déconstruit la manière dont on en vint à se souvenir d'elle, et présente une perspective nouvelle sur la culture dynamique et changeante des missions protestantes du 19ème siècle.


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