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Walking the Rift: Alfred Robert Tucker in East Africa, idealism and imperialism, 1890 – 1911

Mattia, Joan Plubell (2007)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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With stereotypes of imperial complicity and idealistic fantasy firmly in place, tentative assumptions as to the motives of early missionaries often prove less than satisfactory. The need for new master narratives which move beyond the old paradigms of Western expansion and African victimization are being called for by scholars of both North and South; narratives which allow room for strong archival evidence of an egalitarian joint endeavor and African cultural vitality without avoiding the investment in imperialism practiced by colonial personnel. Based on extensive archival research this study advocates an alternative proposal; missionaries caught in the grinding of contradictory opposites. Alfred Robert Tucker, as a professional artist, captured this tug-of-war on canvas but similar dichotomies are found in his approach, as a bishop and Church Missionary Society Director, to marriage contracts, slavery, mission and church organizational structure, alliance with the colonial government and African partnership. Tucker, neither a consistent imperialist nor a complete egalitarian idealist, operated in both spheres without creating a third. This thesis is a piece of revisionist historiography of the Victorian encounter with Africa – a specific micro-narrative questioning the old consensus and calling for a wider discussion and a shift in perspective.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Ustorf, Werner (1945-)
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
Department:Theology and Religion
Additional Information:

Illustrations reproduced with the permission of Durham County Record Office and the incumbent of Durham, St Nicholas Parish.

Keywords:Victorian missionaries
Subjects:BV Practical Theology
DT Africa
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:119
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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