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Friendship, Faith and Cosmopolitan Thought Zones on the Cusp of Empire

Abstract The legacies of colonialism continue to resonate, in a new era of intensified globalisation that once again places race and religion at the centre of a search for peaceful co-existence. This book looks back to the period 1860-1950 in order to grasp how alternative visions of amity and co-existence were forged between people of faith, within but resistant to imperial contact zones. This chapter contextualises our argument that networks of faith and friendship played a vital role in forging new vocabularies of cosmopolitanism that presaged the post-imperial world of the 1950s.

Keywords Cosmopolitanism • Race • Provincialise Europe • Affect • Religion • India • Christianity

In 1903 W. E. B. Du Bois, the eminent African American sociologist, wrote: ‘The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the colour line.’1 His words are echoed by V. S. Azariah, an Indian Christian representative, speaking at the 1910 World Missionary Conference to a largely European audience: ‘The problem of race relationships is one of the most serious problems confronting the Church today.’2 The legacies of colonialism continue to resonate, in a new era of intensified globalisation that once again places race and religion at the centre of a search for peaceful coexistence, captured by the sociologist Stuart Hall’s prescient observation © The Author(s) 2017

J. Haggis et al., Cosmopolitan Lives on the Cusp of Empire, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-52748-2_1

that ‘the coming question of the twenty-first century’ is how to fashion ‘the capacity to live with difference’.3 This book looks back to the period 1860-1950 in order to grasp how alternative visions of amity and coexistence were forged between people of faith, within but resistant to imperial contact zones. We argue that networks of faith and friendship played a vital role in forging new vocabularies of cosmopolitanism that presaged the post-imperial world of the 1950s, as demonstrated in the case studies discussed in the chapters that follow.

 
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