An Exemplary History of American Missionaries in the Arab World


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project explores a struggle between early an nineteenth-century American vision of an evangelized world made up of free and equal Protestant individuals and a reality of an Ottoman Arab world that accommodated religious difference but not political or religious equality. Both worlds had to struggle in different ways with the problem of what we today call multiculturalism; neither embraced it. This project analyzes various memorializations of
an exemplary missionary encounter in the Ottoman Arab world. It sees it as a pivotal moment in the simultaneous elaboration of Ottoman and American modernities, each shaped by a struggle to reconcile pluralistic societies with ideas of equality and with the
problem of how to reconcile the place of religion within increasingly secular societies.