Vallgårda, Karen A. A. ‘Tying Children to God With Love: Danish Mission, Childhood, and Emotions in Colonial South India’. Journal of Religious History, vol. 39, no. 4, 2015, pp. 595–613.
The article examines the politics of emotions, conversion, and childhood in the Danish Protestant Christian mission around the turn of the twentieth century in colonial South India. The emotional configuration of childhood that came to prevail in the Danish missionary community at this time was informed by a particular notion of the importance of intimate and tender feelings to the constitution of a rich Christian life. In order to win the children’s hearts for Christ, they had to be treated gently, even lovingly. The article shows how this sentimentalisation of childhood simultaneously served to displace Indian adults and parents and to include Indian children into what one might call the missionaries’ emotional community. And, while the ideal of gentle intimacy rendered corporal punishment less socially acceptable in the education of children, it involved a different kind of power — less tangible and visible, and therefore perhaps also more difficult to contest. As such, the article discloses the highly ambiguous political anatomy of love.