L. M. Ratnapalan, "Robert Louis Stevenson and the Pacific: The Transformation of Global Christianity" (Edinburgh UP, 2023)


How does Robert Louis Stevenson’s engagement with Pacific Islands cultures demonstrate processes of inculturation and the transformation of global Christianity? 

L. M. Ratnapalan's book Robert Louis Stevenson and the Pacific: The Transformation of Global Christianity (Edinburgh UP, 2023) re-orients the intellectual biography of Robert Louis Stevenson by presenting him in the distinctive cultural environment of the Pacific. The book argues that Stevenson was religiously literate within a Scottish Presbyterian tradition and therefore well placed to grasp with subtlety the breadth and dynamics of a Christianized Pacific culture. It considers his legacy with respect to issues of indigenous sovereignty and agency and positions him within an important and wide-ranging modern debate about inculturation, defined as the emergence of Christianity from within a particular culture rather than imposed on it from outside. Through this study of a major Scottish writer, the book offers a model of interdisciplinary scholarship.

L. Michael Ratnapalan is Associate Professor of History at Underwood International College, Yonsei University. He has published widely on modern intellectual and cultural history, with a focus on Britain’s interactions with the wider world.

Joseph Gaines can be reached at jgaines1091@gmail.com

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