From Serampore to Singapore: The Making of the Missionary Enterprise to China (1800-1840)

Visiting Scholar Talks

Apr 5, 2024 | 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Common Room (#136), 2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA,


Helin Wu | Associate Research Fellow, India Study Center, Central China Normal University; HYI Visiting Scholar, Indian Studies In China Program, 2023-24


Dana L. Robert | William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, Director of the Center for Global Christianity and Mission, Boston University

Co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

Whereas former studies about the interaction between Joshua Marshman and Robert Morrison brought us the interesting pictures about their writings of grammar book and Bible translation, highlighting their conflicts and difference during early 19th Century, this talk is aimed to explore the broader horizon of the missionary enterprise composed of missionaries of different societies before the First Opium War. During this period when China was inaccessible to the missionary, it was not only Joshua Marshman and Robert Morrison, but also their peers at Serampore, Malacca, Batavia, who worked together to bring missionary endeavor for China to the western world. When it came to 1822, London Missionary Society established its station and its press in Singapore, and then in 1834, it was sold to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. By then, the network of missionary enterprise began to shape its international form. Those pioneering missionaries, most of whom didn’t set their foot on China’s land, paved the way for the dramatic development of missionary enterprise in China after the door was forced to open. To some extent, the making of the missionary enterprise is a result of conflicts, competition, and cooperation within and between those missionary societies.