Opening up transregional analysis in the basel mission archive

Authored by: Paul Jenkins

The Routledge Handbook of Transregional Studies

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138718364
eBook ISBN: 9780429438233
Adobe ISBN:


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A mission’s archive is generated both by its formal organization and by its character as a social movement. Mission organizations can vary quite widely according to the national and confessional culture of the groups primarily supporting them. In all mission archives, however, the contents – from formal regular minutes and reports to incidental items such as donations of missionaries’ private papers – are usually shot through by refractions of the mission’s own orthodoxy and its own expectations of what it was doing. One innovative Zürich dissertation even argued that the Basel missionaries’ feeling that they were representatives and executives of the missionary perceptions of their home supporters meant that they were hindered in understanding the seriousness of what was really happening around them in China in the first half of the twentieth century in spite of their command of Hakka, the regional dialect (Rüegg 1988).

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