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Title: Italian intermediation and knowledge of the languages and cultures of India. The narrative practices regarding the Other in missionaries’ writings
Authors: Muru, Cristina 
Issue Date: 2021
This chapter examines missionaries’ linguistic acts through the analysis of three texts and explores how they interpreted the Otherness that they encountered from the sixteenth century onwards. The chapter focuses on the way in which the perception of the Other was narrated and transmitted, and highlights how missionaries’ intervention shaped the Other's cultural values in order to render them compatible with Christian principles. The narrative practice observed is twofold: discourse strategically constructed to inform Europe about the Other, and discourse used to inform the Other about Christianity. Focusing on the linguistic choices and acts in the documents (partially reproduced here) belonging to three Italian missionaries, this chapter offers an overview of how the alterity of the Indian subcontinent was narrated in Europe and suggests that the missionaries’ interpretation of the Other contributed to the European collective imagination about the foreign within a European context of emerging rationality and scientific disciplines. This interpretation of the Other was developed through a comparative model based on familiar categories of representation and through a perception gained via words and drawings. Overall, this chapter contributes to the debate on the history of ideas and global history by looking at the role of Italian missionary writings.
ISBN: 9781032047911
Appears in Collections:B1. Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)

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