The subject of missions-formal efforts at religious conversion of native peoples of the Americas by colonizing powers-is one that renders the modern student a bit uncomfortable. Where the mission enterprise was actuated by true belief it strikes the modern sensibility as fanaticism; where it sprang from territorial or economic motives it seems the rankest sort of hypocrisy. That both elements-greed and real faith-were usually present at the same time is bewildering. In this book seven scholars attempt to create a "new" mission history that deals honestly with the actions and philosophic motivations of the missionaries, both as individuals and organizations and as agents of secular powers, and with the experiences and reactions of the indigenous peoples, including their strategies of accommodation, co-optation, and resistance. The new mission historians examine cases from throughout the hemisphere-from the Andes to northern Mexico to California-in an effort to find patterns in the contact between the European missionaries and the various societies they encountered.
The New Latin American Mission History