Cox, Jeffrey 1947–
Cox, Jeffrey 1947–
Born October 14, 1947. Education: Harvard University, Ph.D., 1978.
University of Iowa, Iowa City, professor of history, 1977—, chair, department of history, 1993-96, president of faculty senate, 2002-03.
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1983; Pew Charitable Trust Research Enablement Grant, 1996.
(Editor, with Shelton Stromquist) Contesting the Master Narrative: Essays in Social History, University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 1998.
Imperial Fault Lines: Christianity and Colonial Power in India, 1818-1940, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 2002.
The British Missionary Enterprise since 1700, Routledge (New York, NY), 2008.
Contributor to anthologies, including The Decline of Christendom in Western Europe, c. 1750-2000, edited by David Hugh McLeod and Werner Ustorf, Cambridge University Press, 2003; and Still More Adventure with Britannia: Personalities, Politics and Culture in Britain, edited by William Roger Louis, I.B. Tauris (London, England), 2003. Contributor to scholarly journals, including Victorian Studies and Women's History Review.
Jeffrey Cox is a professor of history at the University of Iowa, where he has been teaching British and imperial history since the late 1970s. His best-known book is Imperial Fault Lines: Christianity and Colonial Power in India, 1818-1940, which was the result of five years of research and several grant-funded trips to South Asia. The book's title refers to the irreparable schism between the competing goals of the British missionaries and the British imperial forces occupying the country. The ruling class aimed to subjugate and placate the Indians, and the missionaries sought to secure their spiritual liberation. This latter goal oftentimes took the form of humanitarian efforts to alleviate Indians' poverty, suffering, and illness through the establishment of educational and health care institutions, much to the chagrin of the missionaries' fellow British citizens.
Cox explains how the Punjab region had no experience with Christianity before the British assumed control of the subcontinent in the early nineteenth century. Likewise, the British missionaries often had little or no experience with Hinduism and Islam. Despite the fact that a majority of missionaries were women, the Indians still identified them as members of the ruling class, making the missionaries' goals all the harder to reach. On the other hand, these racially and politically privileged missionaries found themselves in the awkward position of advocating for oppressed Indian minorities. Eventually, religious indoctrination took a back seat to humanitarian work out of necessity. Along the way, the missionaries laid the groundwork for a successful Indian independence movement by founding quality schools, health care institutions, and social organizations such as the YMCA. In reviewing Imperial Fault Lines for the journal Albion, Ainslie T. Embree wrote that "the book is essentially a unique examination of the complex negotiations that took place within the imperial framework of British India between the foreign Christians and groups of Indians, both Christian and non-Christian."
Cox's other publications include The British Missionary Enterprise since 1700, which traces the history of British religious expansion to India, Africa, the South Pacific and other environs.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Albion, winter, 2004, Ainslie T. Embree, review of Imperial Fault Lines: Christianity and Colonial Power in India, 1818-1940, p. 719.
American Historical Review, October, 1983, review of The English Churches in a Secular Society: Lambeth, 1870-1930, p. 983.
Choice, April, 2003, C. Curran, review of Imperial Fault Lines, p. 1419.
Journal of Church and State, autumn, 1985, William L. Pitts, review of The English Churches in a Secular Society, p. 544.
Journal of Social History, fall, 2000, Thomas Bender, review of Contesting the Master Narrative: Essays in Social History, p. 187.
Reference & Research Book News, November, 2002, review of Imperial Fault Lines, p. 20.