My blog posts revolve around my interests and vocation as a historian: the intersection of history and contemporary church life, the intersection of history and contemporary politics, serendipitous discoveries in archives or on research trips, publications and research projects, upcoming conferences, and speaking engagements.
I sometimes blog for two other organizations, the Canadian Baptist Historical Society and the Centre for Post-Christendom Studies.
The views expressed in these blogs represent the views of the authors, and not necessarily those of any organizations with which they are associated.
Today I presented my paper entitled "Canadian Protestants, the Sudan Expedition, and the New Imperialism, 1884-1885" at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Church History. Due to COVID-19, the meeting is online, with Zoom presentations for the next three days. Here is a link if you would like to join in the conversations and presentations.
The above map published in a religious periodical gives a sense of how the churches reported on the events in the Sudan.
The quote below provides a sense of the discourse surrounding the "Scramble for Africa" (of which the Sudan Expedition was a part).
“The blessing of civilization long bestowed in rich abundance in Europe and North America, and in measure in Asia and South America, seem now destined to overflow, flood with a new life and light the long oppressed, dark continent, with its swarthy races so long victimized by every nation possessed of ships and colonies. Never before in the annals of history of our race, has such a hopeful prospect exalted for the inhabitants of an uncivilized region brought for the first time into contact with strong and civilized peoples." “The Results of the Berlin Conference,” Canadian Baptist, 23 July 1885. See also “The Scramble for Africa," Wesleyan, 2 April 1885.
General Gordon became an iconic martyr at the Battle of Khartoum. Churches across Canada had sermons preached on his heroism and sacrifice, and poets submitted their poems to the press. In the words of one commentator, “From that sacred sacrifice thousands on thousands have been inspired to live as heroes and die as martyrs in the cause of human freedom, so lived and so died General Gordon, his death was a sacrificial offering on the altar of humanity.” Below are images of two papers that reported on his death - there were many more.
If you want more details on the churches and the Sudan Expedition, see Gordon L. Heath, “The Nile Expedition, New Imperialism and Canadian Baptists, 1884-1885,” Baptist Quarterly 44, 3 (July 2011): 171-186. My presentation today updated that article, and also included Anglicans, Methodists, and Presbyterians. Today's presentation may have been recorded, and, if it was, I will post a link here.