Readers will note that I’ve been working on shaping up a conference paper I delivered last January at the American Society for Church History conference for submission to journals. (See the abstract here.) The writing group with whom I am working this semester has been extremely helpful in keeping my ear to the ground for making adjustments to my piece. Below is a current proposed “re-organization” model for the paper. We’ll see how closely I hold to it in these final weeks prior to submission.
Outline draft, Nicholas Aieta, “Listen to Your Father’s above”
1. Purpose of paper
2. Intro to missionaries under discussion – Merrill, Allis (more background here?)
3. Geographic/topographic discussion of Nebraska (human and physical)
A. White historical
B. Physical nature of plains
C. Native inhabitants – Pawnees, Otoe-missouria (extend sourcing here? Difficult given limited quality secondary source accounts on these tribes)
4. Introduction of white-native interactions
B. Gov’t sources (agents, military, treaties, etc)
C. Missionaries – connection with work of gov’t
5. Moses and Eliza Merrill
A. Personal background
B. First Nebraska arrival
C. Work among Otoe-Missouria
6. Samuel and Emmeline Allis
A. Personal background – should be extended?
B. Interactions with Merrill family
C. Work among Pawnees
7. Historians’ debates regarding the work of missionaries (move?)
C. Rollings (some comparisons with Osages and work done by Merrill and Allis – move?)
8. Regard for natives held by Merrill and Allis
A. Does this contradict or reinforce historians’ debates about missionary work?
B. Conclusion regarding this study and work of Merrill and Allis (Tinker & Axtell discussed)
Self-Assessment – paper needs significant revision and tightening; if purpose is to use the Merrill and Allis missionary work as an example that fits within larger conversation about historians’ analysis of missionaries among natives, then the purpose section needs reworking; current section 7 should be elevated to earlier in the paper? Background on Nebraska and the native people in general might be lifted or restructured? Make connections between Coleman’s call for more individual missionary studies and what I am proposing here more obvious? Tie the observations about Merrill and Allis to historians like Tinker, Rollings, Fisher, etc.