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Entanglements of Empire: Missionaries, Maori, and the Question of the Body

Tony Ballantyne
Tony Ballantyne

Tony Ballantyne is Professor of History at the University of Otago. He is the author or editor of many books, including Between Colonialism and Diaspora: Sikh Cultural Formations in an Imperial World and Bodies in Contact: Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History, both also published by Duke University Press.

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Book Chapter

Making Place, Reordering Space

January 2015

It was common for missionaries and their contemporaries to describe mission stations as “enchanter’s wands,” imagining these settlements as potent engines of social transformation. This chapter interrogates this tradition of thought, exploring the symbolic importance of the mission station in missionary discourse and offering a detailed spatial history of their development in the Bay of Islands. It suggests that mission stations were sites of crosscultural engagement, struggle and transformation, but that such change was messy, uneven and unpredictable. It places particular emphasis on their role in articulating and reshaping the social organization of space and social relations, especially gender. The chapter also emphasizes the importance of mission stations in reshaping patterns of indigenous mobility and that the stations themselves were suggests produced out of the the trajectories of people, animals, tools and implements, books and things, commodities and trade goods.

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