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No. 2, October 2004

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Dear Colleagues,

      Our arrangements for the Competing Kingdoms conference have advanced over the summer. We considered about 50 possible proposals and selected fifteen conference presenters based on geographical distribution and thematic emphasis. Additionally, we selected fifteen conference participants whom we were unable to invite to present a paper in Oxford but who we hope will attend the conference and contribute to the discussion.

      Our conference program is attached. The five sequential sessions echo the major themes of our conceptual framework-women, mission, nation, empire-and the additional theme of alternative visions. Although we have organized sessions based on the thematic focus of the proposals submitted, we realize that the themes are interconnected and we encourage presenters to incorporate overlapping categories in their papers.

      We are delighted to inform you that our keynote speaker will be Jane Hunter, author of The Gospel of Gentility: American Women Missionaries in Turn of the Century China, a groundbreaking work on missionary women that was published just twenty years ago. Our chair/commentators have been invited based on their scholarly contributions to the themes of the conference and their ability, as a group, to bring an interdisciplinary perspective to those themes. They will close the formal part of the conference with a round-table chaired by Kathryn Kish Sklar in which they will address future research possibilities. Our informal break-out sessions after the formal end of the conference will enable us to explore opportunities to extend the work of the conference in other venues.

      Our hosts at the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University have generously provided the conference facilities and funding to cover the local expenses of conference presenters. The American Philosophical Society and Tokyo Christian Woman's University have also provided funding for our project. We have just completed our grant application to the National Endowment of the Humanities to fund travel costs for U.S.-based presenters. NEH announcements will be made in June 2005. Finally, we are investigating opportunities to cover the travel costs of presenters from other parts of the world and fund additional conference expenses.

      At the request of several of our colleagues, we have revised our schedule for submission of drafts and final papers.

Draft panel papers submitted May 1, 2005
Committee comments to panelists August 1, 2005
Paper revisions August 1, 2005 to February 1, 2006
Panelists' papers posted on website February 20, 2006
Web participants' papers due February 20, 2006
All papers on web-site March 20, 2006
Oxford conference April 27-29, 2006
Organizing committee discusses publication
of conference volume with publishers
April 2006
Revised papers submitted to volume editors August 15, 2006
Volume submitted to publisher September 1, 2006

      It is important that we all meet the deadlines to ensure that we have time to read the papers before the conference and engage in discussion. Also, coherence of the papers around our major themes is essential for our ultimate goal of publishing an edited volume from the conference. Please be sure that your paper engages with the analytical framework of the conference and contributes to the historical literature on American women and mission.

      We expect to have a dedicated web site "Women and Mission" in operation by November. As our project develops, we will keep you informed. We are very enthusiastic about the conference and look forward to working with you.

      If you no longer wish to receive our newsletters, please contact Barbara Reeves-Ellington.

With best wishes from the organizing committee,

Kathryn Kish Sklar, Rui Kohiyama, Barbara Reeves-Ellington and Connie Shemo


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