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The Protestant Boomerang: American Missionaries and the United States

David A. Hollinger, University of California, Berkeley

Date & Time

Nov. 15, 2010
3:00pm – 4:30pm ET


American Protestant missionaries were heavily grounded in ethnocentric and imperialist impulses, but many returned to America as advocates of foreign peoples and as agents of anti-racist, anti-parochial, anti-imperialist causes. In one arena of American life after another, missionaries were among the most active in diminishing provincialism and in appreciating cultural diversity.

David A. Hollinger is the Preston Hotchkis Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, and is President of the Organization of American Historians. His books include Postethnic America (1995), Science, Jews, and Secular Culture (1996), and Cosmopolitanism and Solidarity (2006). His recent essays have appeared in the London Review of Books and the American Historical Review. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center (an initiative of the American Historical Association) and the Wilson Center. The seminar is grateful for the support given by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.



Christian F. Ostermann

Christian F. Ostermann

Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project;
Woodrow Wilson Center
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History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

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