Selling the mission : the German Catholic elite and the educational migration of African youngsters to Europe

AITKEN, Robbie (2015). Selling the mission : the German Catholic elite and the educational migration of African youngsters to Europe. German History, 33 (1), 30-51.

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In the aftermath of the Kulturkampf, involvement in the German colonial project provided an opportunity for German Catholics to demonstrate their patriotism. In particular, German Catholic missions sought to carve out a role for themselves in the education of African youngsters not just in the new overseas territories in Africa, but also in Germany itself. Prior to the First World War, a handful of youngsters, primarily from Cameroon, were thus educated by the Pallottine Mission at Limburg an der Lahn and by the Benedictine Mission at St Ottilien, near Munich. This article looks at the ways in which these African students were soon used both publicly and privately to promote Catholic missionary work at home in order to secure support from amongst the Catholic elite of Europe, both financial and political, for ventures abroad. This allows for an analysis of domestic missionary promotional practices as well as of evolving representations of colonial Africans during the Imperial period. The article considers public religious ceremonies (primarily baptisms), mission newspaper reports and fundraising tours in order to demonstrate that these African youngsters came to personify an image of the civilized African, who was devout, intellectually capable and hard-working; an image which offered a counterpoint to the more prevalent negative representations of blacks.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Africans in Germany; Kulturkampf, Catholic Missions
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Humanities Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 30-51
Depositing User: Robbie Aitken
Date Deposited: 27 May 2015 11:44
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:21

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