Early modern missions in cross-confessional perspective

Early modern missions in cross-confessional perspective

Gemeinsame Tagung der Professur für Europäische Geschichte der Frühen Neuzeit der Universität Hamburg und der Stabsstelle Forschung der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle
Franckesche Stiftungen zu Halle
Halle an der Saale
Vom - Bis
28.11.2019 - 29.11.2019
Thomas Grunewald

The history of early modern missions is a rapidly growing field, yet individual actors and regions are all too often treated in isolation. What is still missing largely are comparative perspectives seeking to establish if and in which ways the different actors and fields of missionary activities can be compared and should, thus, be integrated when telling the history of missions. In particular, missions are so far rarely considered from a cross- or inter-confessional perspective. This is all the more surprising given the fact that frequently different Catholic and different Protestant missionaries were active often in close geographical proximity, whether in Asia, North America, the Carribean, or the Levante. The planned conference will seek to open new approaches to the history of Christian missions by focusing on processes of cross-confessional missionary learning and exchange, competition and cooperation. It rests upon the premise that by the mid-17th century the latest, neither Catholics nor Protestants could become active in missionary enterprises without acknowledging the activities of their co-religionists. This holds true for Roman missionaries, whether they were Jesuits, Dominicans, or secular priests; this holds equally true for instance for the Protestant Halle missionaries active for instance in the Indian missionary field where an abundance of catholic initiatives were under way already.

Our conference seeks to establish what this co-presence of missionaries of different confessional backgrounds meant in practical terms: Did missionaries of different Christian faiths in far-away places have contact at all, and if so of what kind? Was their true competition for souls and, if so, of what kind? To which degree did confessional identities shape the attitude towards the non-Christians and among the few Europeans often living in partial isolation a long distance away from home? How did the overwhelming exposure to non-Christian religions and cultures shape the perception of their shared Christian values? And to what extend did non-Christians reflect the different behaviors and goals of Catholic and Pietist missionaries? Did missionary experiences foster a pan-Christian transconfessionalism or not? How did Protestant missionaries evaluate their Catholic counterparts and vice versa? How did processes of missionary learning function, were there cross-confessional exchanges of knowledge and practical expertise? How were schooling and education as well as pedagogical concepts and theories affected by cross-confessional observation? Through which media and channels learned missionaries of different confessions about each other? Put in a larger perspective, the conference seeks to contribute to the following basic conceptual question: Which relevance should the confessional factor play in writing missionary history?
It is obvious that the Halle Pietists and the Jesuits have to figure prominently in any comparative approach to the history of missions. We thus invite proposals dealing with the Jesuits and/or the Halle Pietists in particular. In this regard, however, we are also interested in papers which are dealing with inner-European zones of contacts between Pietists and Catholics (e.g. Silesia) which have had an impact on cross-confessional receptions and therefore furthermore on mission activities. But we also recognize that future historiography on missionary activities should go beyond the well-known figures and institutions. Thus, we also strongly invite papers on hitherto overlooked or underestimated missionary activities and institutions. Particularly welcome are proposals with a distinctively comparative approach. We furthermore invite papers concerning both the missionary activities in the field as well as papers focusing on the exchange of missionary information in Europe or on European debates about missionary developments.

All papers submitted should be careful to establish that they do follow a cross-confessional perspective. In terms of chronology, we invite contributions dealing with the long 18th century. The conferences languages will be English and German.

The deadline for proposals is the April 1st 2019. The proposals should not be longer than 300 words and be accompanied by a short CV. We will inform all successful applicants during May 2019. Travel cost subsidies will be available up to a certain degree.

Prof. Dr. Markus Friedrich
Universität Hamburg - Fachbereich Geschichte
Professur für Europäische Geschichte
der Frühen Neuzeit
Von-Melle-Park 6/Raum 955
D-20146 Hamburg

Prof. Dr. Holger Zaunstöck
Franckesche Stiftungen zu Halle
Leiter Stabsstelle Forschung
Franckeplatz 1, Haus 37
06110 Halle (Saale)



Thomas Grunewald

Stabsstelle Forschung
Franckesche Stiftungen zu Halle


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