Healing heathen lands: Protestant missions and public health in British India, 1855-1956


  • Dr Shinjini Das

    University of Oxford

Project summary

This project will explore the role of Protestant missions in the making of British Indian public health by tracing the interactions between evangelical, colonial and vernacular sources. I will argue that Protestant missionaries in South Asia did not merely play a complementary role to imperial biomedicine. I will examine the ways in which missions helped shape colonial health policies as well as knowledge of colonial disease and treatment. I will also explore the extent to which Indians were involved in medical missions.

This work will add to histories of imperial medicine, international health, global history, colonial Christianity and post-colonial studies. I will produce a monograph explaining the distinctiveness and significance of Protestant missionary medicine in South Asia which will contribute to the emerging literature on British voluntary religious organisations in the making of imperial public health. It will also contribute to the broader literature on the relationship of modern science and medicine with Christianity.