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Missionaries‘ Images of Europe

Transfer and Transformation of Missionaries' Images of Europe in Contact with the Other, 1700-1970

How did Europeans outside Europe view Europe? From the 18th century onwards, Protestant Europeans left their home countries for decades on end, often even for the rest of their lives, to promote Christian, “European” values to cultures outside of Europe. Working in European networks, they formed a European identity at an early point in time. At the same time, physical distance from Europe and the encounter with non-European cultures changed their concepts and images of Europe. The Junior Research Group, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, examines these modifications and their repercussions on Europe.  Details (PDF english)

The group worked at the IEG from 2010 to 2014. It consisted of three researchers who spent four years working in Mainz and of four fellows-in-residence who brought new perspectives to the project and who stayed for a year each. Furthermore, visiting fellows who worked on mission histories, the histories of "European" values and culture completed the group.

The group has created an interactive online learning programme (in German) that introduces new approaches to mission history and the history of cultural contacts in twelve units:

  • 23.7.2010 Interview with project director Dr. Judith Becker in SWR2 Journal Details Details (MP3)
  • 01.09.2011 Interview with project director Dr. Judith Becker in SWR2 Journal on the international colloquium Europe as the Other  Details (MP3)

Mit freundlicher Genehmigung von mission 21, © mission 21 / Basel Mission Image Archive


Transfer and transformation of images of Europe of protestant missionaries in the encounter with the Other in India during the 18th century (Sabine Hübner, 2010-2014)

Transformation of European Values in Contact with the Other – the Contribution of the Protestant Missionary Movement, Using the Example of the Basel Mission, the Rhenish Missionary Society, the Church Missionary Society and the London Missionary Society in the 19th Century (Judith Becker, 2010-2014)

Transfer and Trandformation of Missionaries' Notions on Values and Images of Europe in Contact with the Other, 1700–1970 (Andreas Heil, 2010-2014)

Reading Dynamism and Diversity in the Representation of Europe in 19th Century West Africa (Oluwatoyin B. Oduntan, fellow-in-residence 2011)

Visualizing faith. Images of »Europe« and »European values« in Catholic mission pho-tography in colonial New Guinea, 1899-1975 (Katharina Stornig, fellow-in-residence 2011/12)

Friedrich Adolf Lampe (1683-1729) and the Bremen Mission: the transformation and transfer of inner-church reform to outward missions (Peter James Yoder, fellow-in-residence 2012/13)

Learned Communities, Scholar Missionaries, and the European Universities: Scholarly Exchanges between South India and Europe during the 18th and 19th Centuries (Dr. Mrinalini Sebastian)


  • 19.-22.5.2014 Workshop Europäische Mission und Kulturkontakte in der universitären Lehre II
  • 10.–12.4.2014 International Colloquy European Missions in Contact Zones: Transformation through Interaction in a (Post-) Colonial World Details, Plakat
  • 10.4.2014 Public interview Andrew Walls and Roger Bowen on European Missions in Contact Zones: The Experience of the Missions in Decolonizing Countries Plakat
  • 7.2.2014 Workshop Europäische Mission und Kulturkontakte in der universitären Lehre I
  • 21.1.2014 Public lecture The idea of Europe in British discourses on the French conquest of Algeria von Dr. Jack Harrington (Milton Keynes)
  • 23.11.2013 Caritas and Colonialism: The Search for Sanctification in a Global Context Panel beim Annual Meeting der American Academy of Religion in Baltimore, Organisatoren: Judith Becker (Mainz) / Peter James Yoder (Rome, GA).  Details
  • 24.10.2013 Workshop Der Umgang mit Differenz: Imaginierte Beziehungen und reale Netzwerke
  • 14.6.2013 Workshop Zukunftserwartungen in Pietismus und Evangelikalismus
  • 13.5.2013 Public lecture Fortschritt ins Nichts. Aboriginale Begegnung und spirituelle Alternativen bei Theodor Strehlow von Prof. Dr. Werner Ustorf (Birmingham)
  • 26.9.2012 Historische Außenansichten auf Europa: Annäherungen aus (post)kolonialer und transatlantischer Perspektive Panel at the 49. Deutschen Historikertag in Mainz, By: Bekim Agai (Bonn) / Judith Becker (Mainz) / Jan Logemann (Washington)
  • 3./4.9.2012 Workshop Übersetzungen vom Eigenen ins Fremde. Auseinandersetzungen und Aushandlungen im kulturellen Kontakt DetailsTagungsbericht (HSozuKult)
  • 3.9.2012 Public lecture Wechselseitige Artikulation: Religionen, soziale Problemlagen und Individualisierungsprozesse an indischen Beispielen of Prof. Dr. Martin Fuchs (Erfurt)
  • 10.7.2012 Workshop Bilder als Quellen der Missionsgeschichtsschreibung
  • 26.6.2012 Masterclass Sakralisierungsprozesse: ihre Erklärung und Begründung with Prof. Dr. Hans Joas (Freiburg)
  • 25.6.2012 Public lecture Sakralisierung und Entsakralisierung. Politische Herrschaft und religiöse Interpretation von Prof. Dr. Hans Joas (Freiburg) Details
  • 13./14.1.2012 Workshop Ideale, Werte und Normen. Das Beispiel Humanität
  • 1.–3.9.2011 International Colloquy Europe as the Other: External Perspectives on European Christianity Details
  • 1.9.2011 Public interview Mission in Postcolonial Times: Views of an African Christian Missionary in Germany in the context of the Colloquy Europe as the Other
  • 1./2.7.2011 Workshop Europadefinitionen
  • 31.5.2011 Masterclass Religion and Globalization with Prof. Dr. José Casanova (Washington)
  • 30.5.2011, 18:15h Public lecture The Jesuits and Globalization by Prof. Dr. José Casanova (Washington) at the University
  • 9.–11.5.2011: Workshop Berichte von den Missionsstationen und ihre Veröffentlichung in den Missionszeitschriften – eine Art der Zensur?, in cooperation with Dr. Guy Thomas, Basel
  • 26.1.2011, 18:15 Uhr: Public lecture Transformation von Religion in der Moderne by Prof. Dr. Kocku von Stuckrad  Details
  • 14./15.1.2011: Workshop Postkolonialismustheorien in der Kirchengeschichtsschreibung

Visiting fellows:

  • Dr. Claire McLisky, Kopenhagen (December 2010)
  • Prof. Dr. José Casanova, Georgetown (May 2011)
  • Prof. Dr. Hans Joas, FRIAS, Freiburg (June 2012)
  • Prof. em. Dr. Werner Ustorf, Birmingham (May 2013)
  • Dr. Jack Harrington, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK (Januar 2014)

Members of the advisory board:

Group members: Judith Becker, Andreas Heil, Sabine Hübner, Oluwatoyin B. Oduntan (fellow-in-residence 2011), Katharina Stornig (fellow-in-residence 2011/12), Peter James Yoder (fellow-in-residence 2012/13), Mrinalini Sebastian (fellow-in-residence 2013/14); Office: Ute Latz

Project director: Judith Becker