Missionary Scholarship and Development of Africanists Knowledge (SARECO)
« Missionary scholarship and development of Africanists knowledge in former mission countries: status, issues and controversies about a problematic coexistence between secular and religious spheres »
This Kick-Start-Project is a collaboration between the University of Basel and the Université de Douala (Cameroune) and is funded by the Swiss-African-Research-Cooperation (SARECO)
Hosting Scientist : David Atwood, in collaboration with Dr. Guy Thomas (University of Basel)
Visiting Scientist: Dr. Nadeige Laure Ngo Nlend
This research is entitled: “Missionary scholarship and development of Africanists knowledge in former mission countries: status, issues and controversies about a problematic coexistence between secular and religious spheres”. Its object is focused on missionary erudition in connection with the development of African studies through the archives of former mission agencies that worked in Cameroon. In a context where some European and African countries are reluctant to the integration of missionaries and theological studies in the academies and institutions, we want to assume that the reinvestment of documents issued from of the activities of former missionary societies, is a chance of mutual enrichment of both religious and secular knowledge.To complete this study successfully, we need to attend archive centers as well as African research institutes based in Switzerland and France. In fact, the archives of both the Basel Mission in Swiss, and Defap in France, contain important information about Cameroon, inherited from the Swiss and french Christian evangelization in those countries. Such information is valuable to shape our analytical perspectives. Evidence of the importance of Swiss research for this study is brought by the reflection of Professor Harries entitled Butterflies and Barbarians. Swiss missionaries and system knowledge in South East Africa. This book, produced in the center of African Studies at the University of Basel, is a founding work of current research on the cultural history. Such studies focusing on the development of knowledge in connection with religious expansion during European imperialism are related to the present study. The hereby-submitted project enlists itself into a conception of knowledge production that does try to rearrange categories such as «the secular» or «the religious sphere» but does try to analyze Africanist knowledge through the lenses of the «unbounding» of categories.
The research will take place over three years and will include the collection of archival and bibliographic data in Europe and Cameroon as well as it allows the exchange of Cameroon and Swiss researchers.