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Women and intercultural cooperation : Moravian, Delaware, Mahican women and the negotiating space, 1741-1763

Author: Alicia M Lengvarsky
Publisher: Columbus, Ohio : Ohio State University, 2009.
Dissertation: Thesis (M.A.)--Ohio State University, 2009.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Abstract: This project describes a cross-cultural system created and maintained by Moravian, Delaware, and Mahican women. This study begins in the early 1740s, when the Moravians established a settlement in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and ends in 1763 with the end of the French and Indian War. The Moravians had a unique outlook on the conversion of Native Americans; rather than preaching at the Delaware and Mahicans,
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Details

Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Alicia M Lengvarsky
OCLC Number: 605062380
Notes: Title from first page of PDF file.
Includes vita.
Description: 1 online resource (v, 95 p.)
Responsibility: by Alicia Lengvarsky.

Abstract:

Abstract: This project describes a cross-cultural system created and maintained by Moravian, Delaware, and Mahican women. This study begins in the early 1740s, when the Moravians established a settlement in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and ends in 1763 with the end of the French and Indian War. The Moravians had a unique outlook on the conversion of Native Americans; rather than preaching at the Delaware and Mahicans, they integrated themselves into the everyday life of Native American communities and established mutual bonds before imparting their religious message. This conversion effort resulted in a rare situation for Delaware and Mahican women and girls. These women experienced a chance to form lasting, reciprocal relationships and a connection with their Moravian peers by the creation of a flexible cross-cultural community.

This project makes use of ethnohistory; the most successful approach to doing Native American history. Ethnohistory uses both historical and ethnological sources, such as anthropological studies of a group's origins and social structure. The meeting of "Indian and white" is usually portrayed as a "clash of cultures," however the Moravians, Delaware, and Mahicans illustrate a different interpretation of this paradigm. Historian Richard White's term "middle ground" is usually used to illustrate the negotiations between colonists and Native Americans. However, while the middle ground does not discount the participation of women, it does not place them at the center as equal to male actors. In the case of the Moravians, the term "negotiating space" is a more apt way to describe their relationships with their Native American converts. The negotiating space was the system of cross-cultural exchange, survival, and cooperation created by Moravian, Delaware, and Mahican women.

The Moravian religion claims its origins in the fifteenth-century and experienced rejuvenation in the 1720s through Count Ludwig von Zinzendorf of Saxony. Soon, missions were started worldwide, including the colony of Georgia. The mission later moved to Pennsylvania where they purchased 500 acres along the Leigh River. The Delaware originally inhabited parts of New Jersey. However, they encountered constant obstacles in maintaining a permanent settlement after signing the Walking Purchase of 1737. The Mahicans traditionally lived in central New York State, however, colonists overtook Mahican land because it was valuable in the fur trade. In the 1740s the Delaware and Mahicans joined the Moravians of Bethlehem.

The negotiating space can be divided into two fronts, each with a unique social and cultural environment. The first front was populated by Native American and Moravian women who lived in Native American dominated mission towns. The second front refers to the Native American girls who attended dominantly white and urban Moravian schools. Despite vast cultural differences, the women of the mission towns were able to negotiate strong friendships. However, the majority of Native American girls living in Moravian schools experienced obstacles which complicated their likelihood of forming strong relationships with their Moravian peers. This project seeks to outline the formation, evolution, and progression between these two fronts within the geographic and cultural environments of the negotiating space.

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