“Woman’s work” Part I – American women missionary geographies
This chapter examines two areas described as woman's work: missionary outreach and settlement work. It focuses on Protestant women missionaries and the widespread mission movement mobilizing American women beginning in the 1860s. Writing for an audience of American women, women writers were addressing topics they knew would capture their audience's attention and possibly promote them to assist the missionaries in elevating the lives of Chinese women. Through the woman's work carried out by missionaries and settlement workers, similar yet very different practices, geographic knowledge was created and circulated by Progressive Era women. The chapter begins by discussing the geographic work of women missionaries. Missionary women were more often involved in what might be described as mundane acts of geographic knowledge creation and circulation, writing largely for audiences of other women. Women captured the cultural geography of China relevant to women, such as foot binding, the unbinding of feet, infanticide, forced marriage, tolerance of wife beating, and the value of sons.