Rohrer, Katherine Elizabeth
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“Missionary Mistresses: Evangelical Protestant Christianity and The Evolution of a New Southern Woman?, 1830-1930” analyzes white women’s religious expressions and actions in a South forever changed by the democratizing influences of the Second Great Awakening yet perpetually confined by long-standing beliefs in racial and sexual subordination. More specifically, and looking through a predominantly gendered lens, this project examines the ways by which well-educated white women used the conservative institution of evangelical Protestant Christianity as an instrument through which they steadily expanded their intellectual and professional capacities as well as their agency and impact at home and throughout the world. These women resembled their elite southern sisters outside of faith-based activities in their quest to uphold Old South values by exercising a degree of control and influence over poor whites, slaves, free African Americans and foreigners both within, and outside of, their own communities. Those engaged in a number of faith-based activities, institutions and environments are the focus here. These include their experiences as students at denominational academies and colleges; as religious educators and/or mentors to their families and bondsmen; as organizers and administrators of mite and denomination-wide societies; as public and private promoters of faith-based careers; and, most significantly, as home and foreign missionaries.