»European Missions in Contact Zones: Transformation through Interaction in a (Post-)Colonial World«: Colloquium at the Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz. Organised by Judith Becker (Mainz), BMBF junior research group »Transfer and Transformation of Missionaries’ Images of Europe, 1700–1970«; 10.04.2014–12.04.2014, Mainz

Report by: Deborah Gaitskell, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

How were both Christian missionaries and their potential converts changed during and by their religious encounter in colonial or post-colonial times? An international group of scholars (including a strong showing from within Germany) recently explored examples of this mutually interactive engagement in diverse contact zones across every continent. In welcoming the participants, Johannes Paulmann, Director of the department of Universal History of the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG), Mainz, explained that this colloquium was the concluding event of a project begun in 2010. Operating as something of a flagship for the Institute, it had drawn in both core researchers and visiting scholars, backed by a supportive international board, its transnational mission focus resonating somewhat with IEG’s current research on negotiating difference in modern Europe.

Judith Becker (Mainz), project head, located the theme’s origins in the changing historiographical landscape of the mission encounter. Moving on from an earlier stress primarily on hierarchy – the gap between coloniser and colonised – scholars now focused, rather, on how concepts, attitudes and practices had changed historically (on both sides). Could one chart an intensification of former religious and social convictions, or their modification or abandonment for new adaptations arising out of encounter? The ›Orientalist‹ moment is over – historians now show interrelationship, entanglement, mutual transformations, in what Bhabha dubs a ›third space‹. The work of Mary Louise Pratt in Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (1992) was useful in stressing the actual cohabitation of Westerners and indigènes in real historical situations, an often uneven cultural grappling from which something new might emerge. To capture such ›transformation through interaction‹, perspectives from both sides were needed.

Jeffrey Cox (Iowa), in a keynote that provoked much discussion, welcomed the revised 25th anniversary edition of Pratt’s book (2008), challenging scholarship which has operated for too long in the shadow of both the one-idea Said and subaltern studies. Her toolbox of concepts stresses incorporation, hybridity, creolisation, which helps us get round the binaries of imperial and missionary research – British and foreign, Western and other – which can also lead to a search for authentic vs inauthentic forms of Christianity. However, despite the centrality in Pratt of the ›contact zone‹ and ›transculturation‹ – ideas Cox saw as very much exemplified by missionaries – there are no missionaries and there is no religion in her book, with travel writing central to the analysis instead. Cox blamed the problematic assumption that we live in a secular age where religion is marginal and to be ignored, even though it might be staring you in the face. He could suggest missionaries who embodied Pratt’s interest in ›planetary consciousness‹ and the classifying, ›all-seeing man‹, while her use of ›narratives of anti-conquest‹ (of Western humanitarians, explorers and scientists justifying their presence as non-imperial) could also be traced in missionaries who explained their role as being there to help people out of slavery, or working towards the self-governing, self-extending church. The self-critical narrative of anti-conquest, Cox thought, highlighted the historical fault-line between the power of missions and their aspiration to create a community of spiritual equals.

The general papers which followed on that first day largely concerned mission in India. Judith Becker (Mainz) focused on how the Basel missionary polemic against slavery in West Africa, alongside an associated religious discourse on bondage and liberty, was transferred to and further modified in India when they began working there from 1834 and found a fifth of the population bonded (Dalit) labourers. They contrasted the atrocities of slavery with the freedom of the children of God, who needed spiritual as well as physical emancipation through Christ, as they had learnt in Europe. In a second phase of greater hope, they argued from natural theology that God had written his message on the Indians’ hearts, and preached freedom not only from sin but also idols, bad customs and caste. By the third period, with longer experience in the contact zone and having learnt more about Indian religion, they saw more bondage in diverse Hindu customs, objects and practices and became more disillusioned. A fourth stage saw further transformation of perceptions, as the devil, and local spirits they saw as of the devil, came in for greater mention in letters and periodicals. However, while some Basel missionaries valued congregations of slaves as model Christians contributing equally and focused their work on slaves, other worked with the educated upper class, ignoring the slaves – while discovering peasants and slaves in fact listened more and by and by came to a similar evaluation as their colleagues.

The research of Peter James Yoder (Rome/GA) potentially offers a richer understanding of the indirect impact which distant ›contact zones‹ had on Continental religious thought in the 18th century. He is seeking to assess whether the great Pietist leader and founder of the Danish English Halle Mission August Hermann Francke, in his hopes for far-reaching transformation via heartfelt education, came to use the word ›heathen‹ differently after contact with missionaries abroad. Did his theology change as a result of publishing the letters of the Halle missionaries to Tranquebar from 1706? Francke did threaten the unreformed German church that their deadness would see the gospel transferred to the heathen. But initially he used ›heathen‹ of Old Testament polytheists and idolators; or the opponents of the early Christians: Jews, heathens and Turks. He might include Catholics too, or criticise as heathens Lutherans who did not think they had to live a godly life. Post-contact, although he never seems to refer directly to the Indian mission in sermons and reform plans, Francke characterises heathenism as concerning more particularly those who lacked knowledge: the heathens or wise men from the east seeking knowledge offered a positive pattern for conversion, as they left their families to follow Christ.

Sabine Hübner (Oldenburg/Mainz) provoked animated discussion with her focus on how Pietist forms of prayer were influenced by the contact zone. Prayer, alongside Bible reading, was basic to the religious life of the Halle pioneers among the Tamils – as a precondition to, and means and indicator of, faith and engagement with others – yet there has been little research on prayer in Christian missions. Missionaries had conversations with Tamils about prayer; offered descriptions of how they or locals prayed; collected prayers for mission accounts; and composed their own prayers. Indeed, the exchange of intercessions through correspondence from India with pious Christians in Europe built an emotional relationship, a spiritual interaction, even perhaps a ›communion of saints‹, a counter-moment of equality. Prayer was seen as a source of God’s spirit, power, salvation and life – but it was also significant in assessing the state of converts. Yet mutual influence in the form and style of prayer was hampered by missionary expectation of spontaneous utterance of devotion, their praise for emotional, word-centred prayer. Francke insisted on prayer from the heart, in continual dialogue with a personal God, the Christian talking like a child to its mother. But Tamils struggled to use many words and pray extempore. Hindu prayer was less word-centred, using mantras repeating only a few syllables. Consequently, through the contact, ›sighs‹ – wordless, connected to crying, bewailing sins or pleading for salvation – became the term for the more formulaic prayer established in the mission.

The paper by Mrinalini Sebastian (Philadelphia/Mainz) stood out in its concern to capture the voice of the ›native‹, analysing two sets of texts, from Tranquebar and Mangalore: conversations with locals in the 18th-century Halle reports; and letters from the 1870s from a famous Basel convert. Before missionaries came, both areas were exposed to outside cultures via merchant activity and believed in spiritual rebirth, with all worthy of salvation, but the universal availability of grace was received differently by different ranks of the social hierarchy. Sebastian highlighted the astonishing honesty in mission recording of critiques by learned Brahmin and Muslims of the presentation of Christianity, while the voices of traders, women, fisherfolk, children and old sages also featured in conversations. At times, the poor might be fatalistic about their predetermined hard lives – thus narrowing down as exclusive the reach of an inclusive claim about salvation. Over a century later, in the Coorg mission, the story of Pua and her sons unfolded in Basel documents. Pursued by the landlord for not fulfilling their labour duties, these Dalit labourers decided they did not want a life of bondage any more. The mission, with its radical argument about equal dignity in the eyes of God, afforded them room to make a human rights claim.

Andreas Heil (Mainz) emphasised what an unstable construct the idea of ›the missionary‹ was in the post-1945 world: a ›contact zone‹ in itself, perhaps. An older stereotype of their task involving pioneering in new places interacted with indigenous nationalism and ecumenical thought in an era of decolonisation. The 1947 international mission gathering at Whitby argued against separating mission from church – they should be one, a partnership in obedience – and, indeed, by 1961 the World Council of Churches and International Missionary Council merged. Yet, how far were external influences compelling redefinitions? After missionaries were expelled from China, independent India would still let Westerners in for development work: ostensibly, social activism was finally unhitched from evangelism. But mission societies opposed being absorbed into development aid, seeing social work as preaching in action, arising out of inner conviction. Whatever the contestations (and Heil examined Basel Mission and Church Missionary Society material of the time), this era made clear that the Western missionary was no longer necessarily the more powerful agent in the contact zone.

A case study from Rosemary Seton (London) portrayed the large, ›entertaining and instructive‹ monthly social gatherings of indigenous Christians and Church of Scotland (CoS) missionaries, organised by Miss Pigot, energetic female educationalist and lady superintendent in Calcutta in the 1880s, in her substantial premises. Music and magic lantern slides featured; later, after tea and sweets, there were hymns and prayers. She ostensibly made all her friends feel at home in her house, and had a marvellous power in the native community, yet her ability to bridge India’s divide, showing how the two races had become one in Christ, also brought dismissal after accusations of mismanagement and immorality. Pigot successfully sued her male superintendent, though without winning reappointment. Gendered conflicts of authority were at issue, both back in Scotland between the ladies’ committee and the central CoS board to which they were subordinate, and in the field, with the (new, younger) male leader wanting authority over (established, fairly independent) women’s work. Pigot’s ambiguous position as a Eurasian and her controversial career raise questions about whether her mission house provided a third space in a contact zone – deemed by some a potentially dangerous middle ground.

That first evening offered a special opportunity, via an informal joint interview conducted by Brian Stanley (Edinburgh), to hear from two Christian scholars with extensive experience of Africa and changes in Christian mission there over more than half a century. Andrew Walls first went to Africa – Sierra Leone – in 1957, with subsequent spells in Nigeria, Kenya and Swaziland, followed by academic posts in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, and now Liverpool and Ghana. Roger Bowen, missionary in Tanzania from 1965–80 with the Bible Churchman’s Mission Society (now called Crosslinks), subsequently taught theology at St John’s, Nottingham, and currently chairs the Henry Martyn Trust. The experience of working in eminent, historic Fourah Bay College (already the sole West African university-level institution by the 1870s), made Walls question terminology then current about the ›younger churches‹ and keen to persuade the theological academy that Africa was the new centre of the Christian world. Back home after a decade in Africa, with its burgeoning congregations, its new and independent churches, he felt the older, now much less Christian, churches of Scotland could indeed be learning from the younger. Bowen wryly lamented his initial conservative evangelical resistance to local African agendas. But then, learning Swahili to teach theology, he soon wanted to make Christian truth available at all levels there in language and forms that could be understood. Today he promotes links between British congregations and others in Tanzania as part of the world church, for mutual help and inspiration.

As for what Christian theology to export to Africa, Bowen recalled reading African mythology and anthropology to explain Romans to Tanzanians, unwittingly following in the footsteps of the Victorian Bishop Colenso, with his commentary on Romans while working among the Zulu. Walls argued strongly that, with nearly two-thirds of Christians located outside the Western world, theology should engage the whole world, as Kwame Bediako had set out to do in Ghana, interfacing with African culture. Conventional church history as previously taught in Scotland entrenched a very skewed idea of the church. Finally, reflecting on styles of spirituality and worship encountered in African Christianity, Walls pointed to varying charismatic influences but shared joy in Ghanaian Presbyterianism, alongside the striking range of music groups, choirs and alternative instruments in Nigerian churches. Bowen reflected on the East African revival, sometimes facing huge opposition from missionaries who were then perhaps themselves revived. Repentance was not gloomy or individualist, but led to joy. Amplification of Jesus in new cultures could enrich our worship in Europe – if we could surmount the challenge of African Christian leaders sometimes being too busy for further meaningful contact.

There were two more papers on Asia. Andreas Nehring (Erlangen) was the only scholar to explore Buddhism, particularly the concept of ›Mindfulness‹. Though widespread in the West now since the early 20th century and very popular in technologies of the self, its advocates hardly realise its roots in earlier interactions with Western Christianity, a creative reaction to Christian encounter, brought back to Europe. He wanted to weigh this up to clarify the role of missionaries, colonial authorities, and indigenous religious leaders within the contact zone in Burma. In fact, the meditation movement was but one of three reform projects – alongside millenarian and nationalistic alternatives – reacting to Catholic and American Baptist presence and critique. In a collective interpretation and tackling of this contingency, Burmese lay people backed royal efforts to preserve Buddhist practices of which meditation was a part. Also, meditation practice as well as Buddhist theories changed due to the encounter with missionaries. New monk experts later began to spread their new techniques and books to the West, while notable Burmese world figures also practised it.

In looking at communication flows on a global stage, Thoralf Klein (Loughborough) suggested that the controversial Karl Gützlaff himself constituted a contact zone or hub between Asia and Europe, defying neat boundaries of cultural separation. Witness the many roles, diverse Chinese names and chequered career of this flamboyant German, with three English wives and many published books in English. Initially, his was a transnational trajectory (1820–42), training with German missionary societies and in the Netherlands, before working in Indonesia, Bangkok and Macau, then freelance or in alliance with English merchants for evangelistic activities, hoping to open China to Christianity and science, alongside commerce and civilisation. His later years suggest an ›uneasy honeymoon with nationalism‹ (1842–50), as he corresponded increasingly with German missions like Basel and Barmen, seeking to train Chinese preachers for blitz conversion and set up support organisations in Europe. His influence lived on after his death in 1851, via the transcultural impact of his prolific output, with secular texts like travelogues and scientific papers playing a part in the transfer of knowledge from East to West. Additionally, while he served as more than just a populariser of Christian missions in China, his Bible translation even had an impact on the Taiping movement’s own version.

The colloquium then turned its gaze to the Americas and Catholic missions. Ursula Lehmkuhl (Trier) compared two phases of Jesuit endeavour in the far North-West, the first adventurous generation in the 1840s, and then a very international group forced abroad in the late 19th century. These kulturkampf refugees escaping persecution found flourishing Catholic missions, with seven times as many converts as the Protestants had garnered (though later anti-Catholicism eroded these gains, giving Protestants virtual dominance of Indian reservations). Culturally open and comparatively respectful of the Rocky Mountain Indians, the Jesuits occupied an intermediate position, their mystical and ritualistic practices closer to Indian customs than were Protestants’. Their inculturation used ›creative assimilation‹, adapting, say, the ›ladder‹ pictorial catechism to echo Indian prayer sticks, and sacralising some local practices. Jesuit missions operated as internationalist (rather than English) transcultural spaces for negotiating and translating cultural difference. But in the second generation, they might also be chased off settlements: ›We do not want your prayers – they do not fill our stomach.‹ Locals by then appropriated and manipulated Catholic symbols in their own interests, paying lip service or adding Christian power in a utilitarian, functional, syncretised way which ensured the survival of Indian culture – and yet, in demonstrating the continuing impact of their Catholic heritage nevertheless, might well denote Jesuit ›success‹ as cultural brokers.

Stefan Rinke (Berlin) explored the Jesuit engagement with the Guarani of Paraguay (across an area much bigger than today’s state) with an underlying interest in the space their missions occupied in a conflictual colonial society and how such spaces were internally structured. Far-reaching expansion and autonomy from 1609 onwards resulted in thirty ›reductions‹ or enclaves; while these experienced some internal dissent, indigenous troops were also armed by the Jesuits to triumph against both Spanish settlers and the Portuguese. In terms of cultural encounter, the record is mixed. The Guarani accepted missionary help, while the Jesuits tried to build on indigenous religion and gender relations, alongside encouraging a sedentary lifestyle and protecting the people from harmful settler influence. Seeing the locals as lazy, childlike and wild, lower than themselves, yet suitable for Christianising, Jesuits learnt the indigenous tongue, translating the catechism into it. Music was also important. Portraying their relationship with the Guarani as one of love and trust, like that of father and child, the Jesuits nevertheless condemned aspects of indigenous culture such as polygamy, and showed cultural misunderstanding and mockery of local rituals or the quirky use of western clothes. Finally, after the new 1750 border left some reductions under Portuguese rule, forcing further confrontation with settlers, defeat spelt flight for many Guarani, expulsion for the Order, and the end of the isolated ›Jesuit state‹.

Michael Sievernich (Mainz) explored the 1724 volume of comparative anthropology produced by Frenchman Joseph François Lafitau after his six years in the Jesuit mission near Montreal. Unlike Diderot’s condemnatory Encyclopaedia, Lafitau contended that the Indians did not live without religion, law and customs. Drawing on over a hundred ancient and modern authors, as well as extensive Jesuit mission documentation, he explored every aspect of Indian life for vestiges of remote antiquity. Lafitau was interested not in conflicting truth claims in religion but in discerning common cultural elements. His many engravings parallel textual interpretations with holistic iconography, comparing religious symbols, or portraying Indian daily life. A diversity of cultural practices unfolds as part of a wider humanity, with Indians neither barbarians for Europeans to denigrate, nor idealised ›noble savages‹. The frontispiece, with its agglomeration of Indian and Christian symbols, provides a hermeneutical key: a woman writing, weaves a text together from the fragments of disordered cultures around her on the floor.

In shifting the attention to the Pacific and Australasia, Katharina Stornig (Mainz) argued (by contrast with Pratt’s stress on texts) that the social space of childbirth in German New Guinea provided a transnational contact zone of communication – although all parties had to negotiate pollution taboos and cultural ideas of purity. Thus a religious order which was not progressive petitioned for a sister to be present at a difficult birth – even though the Vatican only officially legalised obstetrics for nuns in 1936, because of the possible taint from blood and sexuality. Indigenous women gave birth in the open or in birth huts, women’s spaces prohibited to men. Even locals did not try to save the baby if the mother (who alone could touch it) died in childbirth. Nuns wanted to help combat mothers’ resulting social isolation – they saw it as morally safe ground to visit newborns, baptise the babies and give them a robe, which was generally welcomed (though sometimes their visits were resisted or births hidden from them). Over time, raising babies whose mothers had died also became an important work for nuns, acting as surrogate mothers to many – although ›social motherhood‹ was rejected as inappropriate and some feared photographs with a baby (or a priest) might jeopardise sisters’ public image of chastity. For indigenous women, transformed ideas round childbirth meant that many favoured hospital birth by the 1960s.

Felicity Jensz (Münster), drawing on her research on Moravian missionaries in Victoria, probed contrasting portrayals of Australian Aboriginal religious beliefs. Durkheim, using material that is now discredited, had essentialised Aborigines as not of this time, slaves to their emotions, and primitives who did not integrate religion into daily life. Missionaries, by contrast, had a vested interest, despite some questioning, in showing Aborigines indeed had religion: talk of ›one blood‹ also stressed their potential for conversion. Besides, once personally engaged in the ›contact zones‹, they found things were more complicated, hence downplayed the ›primitive‹. Their descriptions of attempting to teach their faith help uncover the unfolding of indigenous understandings of Christianity. Aborigines might be non-committal, saying they had already heard it; or insist on no more prayers. Both sides could be mutually dismissive of the other’s religious knowledge, with missionaries portraying indigenous dances as wicked. Yet they might also be taken by surprise by Aborigines being different from what they expected, leading to more nuanced reactions and later more tolerance and incorporation. Because there was no life outside the mission reserves, in a context of ongoing settler violence, the outcome of Christian interaction was almost universal Aboriginal conversion by end of the nineteenth century.

Four concluding papers turned the attention to Africa. Rebekka Habermas (Göttingen) posed the provocative question of whether there was anything more to be said on mission and gender in non-European settings (like German West Africa, her previous field). Had it now been ›done‹? She turned instead to local church sources produced in the ›contact zone‹ of mission supporters in remote, Pietist rural areas of north Germany, shaping a different gender agenda. Round Göttingen, Hamburg and Bremen, supporters of the official Hermannsburg, Leipzig and Bremen mission societies were giving to two other types of ventures – women donors more generously than men. Female sewing circles for bazaars, often short-lived but less hierarchical and more self-determined, sprang up informally from the grass roots. Women also helped organise big missionsfeste every May in small villages, with songs and emotional talks putting mission families centre stage, bound together by hardships and challenges, wider than narrow blood ties, inclusive of the former heathen who were now brothers and sisters. In this mission heterotopy, men and women lived together without, or somehow beyond, gender, in the calm and peace of a pastoral idyll (even though people knew conflict existed there), lacking modernity – and alcohol. Did this sentimental paradise (not reflective of actual local rural tensions either) resonate in the colonies or operate only in the minds of women at home in difficult circumstances?

In sharing some of the research dilemmas she faced in exploring early female mission education in Sierra Leone, Silke Strickrodt (London/Berlin), challenging Habermas, was not sure gender had been ›done‹, though domesticity (as a transfer of gender models) perhaps has. How exactly to frame the gendered encounter now was as challenging as handling the rich CMS sources for African history, without unduly privileging or overrating the experience of European missionaries and those who responded to them. In what was largely an oral society, there seem to be no sources for those who chose not to engage with the missionaries, while the historiographical exclusion of the Muslim Creoles has recently been castigated. So, how best can the history of mission education be integrated into African, and specifically Sierra Leonean, social history? Wanting to put indigenous agency more to the fore, she found J. D. Y. Peel’s portrayal of religious encounter encompassing all sides or Frederic T. Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler on integrating metropole and colony in a single field more helpful inspiration than Pratt. By the 1880s, once five girls’ high schools competed in Freetown, fascinating questions round family, marriage, social mobility and female careers can be explored through detailed school registers and African newspapers, revealing how African parents were able to push their own agendas for girls’ schooling, in conflict with the missions’.

In his work on the iconic Pentecostal Congo Evangelistic Mission (CEM), David Maxwell (Cambridge) was trying to close the gap between two important current scholarly approaches, one emphasising the sociology of mission stations (transforming class, gender, domesticity, architecture), the second focusing on processes of proselytisation and acculturation, and suggesting that most conversions were carried out by African evangelists. Faith missions like CEM (still largely unexamined historically) were usually poorly resourced, and keen to evangelise urgently before the ›end times‹, hence initially built little. The first generation especially relied on African converts and former slaves for material and emotional sustenance, a dependence starting from intimate encounters in the vulnerable missionary home and extending on trek. Missionaries also needed African help as social and linguistic intermediaries, building deep relationships which made of such co-workers confidants, valued ethnographic informants and culture brokers. Though converts like Abraham Shilumbo became missionaries and preachers in their own right, pushing the Christian frontier ahead of the missionary one, tensions later arose over gender norms, or taking second wives. In the second generation, faith missions institutionalised, disempowering this autonomous group, leading to independency and schisms.

The account by Heather Sharkey (Philadelphia) of the ugly clash between the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) and their indigenous employee Henry Athanassian in Egypt perhaps had echoes of the case of Miss Pigot in Calcutta. The long-serving Armenian staff-member, previously prized for managerial and financial skills and reliability, such that he rose to a position of regional leadership, likewise successfully took his mission superiors to court (here, over his family’s right to continue renting in ›Bible House‹ in Port Said after his retirement). Without status or recognition as European, somehow a ›native worker‹ more than a ›missionary‹, denigrated as cunning and despotic by a later superior (in the wake of his exposure of another colleague’s corruption), Athanassian fell victim, in a time of nationalist ferment, to defensive British parochialism and xenophobia, at odds with the potential egalitarianism of BFBS within a wider Christian pluralism and universalism. As in the Congo, a mission in the contact zone undermined an ›indigenous‹ leader in a later generation. Ironically, as Athanassian’s career was ending acrimoniously, decolonisation and the Suez Crisis were about to terminate all British mission work in Egypt.

Brian Stanley (Edinburgh) drew together the disparate strands woven by the conference via three concluding reflections. First, while the idea of contact zones had proved fertile in prompting different avenues of research, it was also slippery and elusive. Zones had been found in every continent, from rural North German villages to the Suez Canal, while the concept had been expanded and used of, for example, genres in reports, or just one individual. Were we saying, ›The whole world is my contact zone‹? The conference’s gaze was also, secondly, largely European – discussing written sources and images composed by Europeans which tell us something about what they observed, how they fared and how they changed. Only one paper came from a non-Western scholar, although several presenters stressed the importance of recovering indigenous voices or reminded us that missionaries (in Africa, say) were not always Westerners. Finally, what was going on in contact zones revealed contestations, some transformation, and plenty of paradox. It was not always easy to identify who was inside and who outside. Mission conflicts might pit the newly arrived against those long there; or older and younger generations of missionaries and locals. Both might adapt their spirituality or re-interpret theological understandings. A salvation theology which seemed narrowly exclusive might prove radically inclusive in a heavily caste society or have political repercussions in defending the human status of American Indians, who also had souls. Historians venturing into contact zones were like missionary travellers into a far country: ›The past is another country; they do things differently there.‹ Scholars had to learn to read the cultural signs of mutual influence and allow themselves to be changed by their own research.

The conference papers will be published in the »Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte« series in 2015.

Conference Overview:
Johannes Paulmann (Mainz) – Welcome
Judith Becker (Mainz) – Introduction
Jeffrey Cox (Iowa) – Missionary Narratives of Anti-Conquest
Judith Becker (Mainz) – Liberated by Christ: Evangelical Missionaries and Slavery in Nineteenth-Century South India
Peter James Yoder (Rome/GA) – ›Temples in the Hearts of Heathens‹: Developments in August Hermann Francke’ s Preaching after the Halle Missionaries’ Contact with India
Sabine Hübner (Oldenburg/Mainz) – To Sigh before God: Prayer in the 18th Century Lutheran Mission in Tamil Nadu
Mrinalini Sebastian (Philadelphia/Mainz) – Localized Cosmopolitanism and Globalized Faith: Echoes of »Native« Voices in 18th and 19th Century Missionary Documents
Andreas Heil (Mainz) – One’s Own Concept Challenged: Western Missionaries Renegotiating the Concept of the Missionary in a Postcolonial World
Rosemary Seton (London) – Close Encounters, Racial Tensions: The Church of Scotland Mission in Calcutta [Kolkata], India
Public Interview: Andrew Walls and Roger Bowen interviewed by Brian Stanley – The Experience of the Missions in Decolonizing Countries
Andreas Nehring (Erlangen) – Politics and Meditation: The Influence of Missions on the 19th Century Burmese Lay Reform Movement in Theravada Buddhism
Thoralf Klein (Loughborough) – How to be a Contact Zone: The Missionary Karl Gützlaff between Nationalism, Transnationalism and Transculturalism, 1827–1851
Ursula Lehmkuhl (Trier) – ›Christianity Accommodated‹: Jesuits as Cultural Brokers at the American Frontier, 1840–1900
Stefan Rinke (Berlin) – A State within a State? The ›Jesuit State in Paraguay‹ and Eurocentric Constructions of Space
Katharina Stornig (Mainz) – Cultural Conceptions of Purity and Pollution: Childbirth and Midwifery in a New Guinean Catholic Mission, 1896 – c.1970
Felicity Jensz (Münster) – Understandings of Religion within Australia: The Changing Conceptualisation of Christian and Indigenous Religion
Rebekka Habermas (Göttingen) – Mission and Gender: Sexual Politics in the Colonies and at Home around 1900 in the German Kaiserreich
Michael Sievernich (Mainz) – Comparing Ancient and Native Customs: Joseph François Lafitau and the ›sauvages américains‹
Silke Strickrodt (London/Berlin) – The Place of Missionary Education in Nineteenth-Century Freetown Society: Methodological Considerations
David Maxwell (Cambridge) – Intimate Outsiders and Local Confidants: Missionaries and African Christians in the Contact Zone, Katanga, Belgian Congo, c. 1910s–1920s
Heather Sharkey (Philadelphia) – The Case of Henry Athanassian, an Armenian in the Suez Canal Zone: Questioning Assumptions about Missions and Missionaries
Brian Stanley (Edinburgh) – Final Discussion