Sarah and Her Sisters: Letters, Emotions, and Colonial Identities in the Early Modern Atlantic World


  • Jacqueline Van Gent

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    • Jacqueline Van Gent is a Professor in the Centre for the History of the Emotions at University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.


This article uses letters by indigenous converts to explore how early modern Moravian missions in the Atlantic imagined themselves as emotional communities. Moravian missions were the most successful Protestant mission enterprise in the Atlantic and established numerous missions across several empires and vastly different indigenous cultures. By comparing the letters from indigenous converts across the Atlantic rim (North America, Caribbean and Greenland) I argue that indigenous people used the medium of the written letter to participate in an imagined emotional community of Moravians while at the same time they negotiated inescapable social and gendered differences in very specific colonial contexts.