Like many historians, I am working on a ghost story. This one begins in 1813, the beginning of the American Baptist mission to Burma. Like those told by John Modern and Mark Noll, this story is contoured by war—the American Civil War and a series of Anglo-Burmese Wars waged between 1824 and 1885. Its specters appear in missionary letters and diaries, newspapers reports, illustrated travelogues, and concurrently produced Burmese royal chronicles and ritual networks. As I chase these ghosts, I am continually haunted by a bellow I hear coming from historians who have reclaimed evangelicalism as the determining subject of American religious history.
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