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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies URPP Asia and Europe (2006–2017)

Interconfessional communication and interpersonal networks between Europe and India – The Danish mission in Bengal 1758-1845

Responsible for the doctoral project: Tobias Delfs, M.A.
Funded by: URPP Asia and Europe
Project duration: January 2009 – September 2010
Doctoral committee: Prof. Dr. Jörg Fisch, Department of History/URPP Asia and Europe; Dr. Sven Trakulhun, URPP Asia and Europe; Prof. Dr. Martin Krieger, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Research Field: Entangled Histories

St. Olaf's Church in Serampore (gebaut 1805)


The Danish-English-Halle Mission and the mission of the Moravian brethren in India both had to contend with in the 1770s massively escalating difficulties, including the misconduct of some of their missionaries. This project (1.) will attempt to reconstruct the problems and constraints the missionaries (and other Europeans) were confronted with in their “Lebenswelten”. Given the reactions of the European headquarters it (2.) will try to illuminate their agency. A main focus will be laid on the marginalized Europeans in India. By focusing on these agents, their misconduct and their “Lebenswelt” a linear and teleological perspective on the European expansion into Asia will be challenged in favor of diversity, inconsistency and fragility of the “ruling” secular and spiritual institutions. The marginalized protagonists point to the internal diversity of an expanding Europe, on social stratification and distinctions as well as a variety of discursive and normative orders which were defining their behaviour.

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