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Christian Globalism at HomeChild Sponsorship in the United States$
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Hillary Kaell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691201467

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691201467.001.0001

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Systems and Statistics

Systems and Statistics

Aggregate Numbers and Particular Objects

(p.51) Chapter 2 Systems and Statistics
Christian Globalism at Home

Hillary Kaell

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how the statistical science of “large numbers,” notably population statistics, worked dialogically with the penny donations of systematic giving and the individual recipients associated with “special objects” charity. It focuses on statistical aesthetics and linguistic gigantism, where missionary audiences were treated to display after display of numbers, graphs, and maps that portrayed global immensities. These aesthetic forms shared a common message with designated and systematic giving: they reiterated the “burdensome calculus” of millions upon millions of perishing heathen souls and the millions upon millions it would cost to convert them. But for U.S. Christians, big numbers did not crush to kill. Instead, they were meant to uplift and enliven moral action in service of global projects.

Keywords:   population statistics, penny donations, systematic giving, special objects charity, statistical aesthetics, linguistic gigantism, U.S. Christians, moral action, global projects

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