Conference Announcement

Menschen – Bilder – Eine Welt.

Menschenbilder in Missionszeitschriften aus der Zeit des Kaiserreichs

6–8 October, 2016

Leibniz Institute of European History (Mainz)


While recent research has shown great interest in the media dimensions of global movements and transnational campaigns in the twentieth century, we still know only little about the use and function of images in the modern missionary movement. However, already a brief glance at mission periodicals makes clear that missionary organizations were among the first transnational institutions that massively (re)produced, distributed and used large amounts of images from throughout the world in their various printed materials. Already in the nineteenth century, they used selected images (engravings, photographs) for specific ends and placed them in specific medial and communicative contexts, which ranged from certain visions of differentiating and ordering the world’s people to emphasizing Christian ideas of shared humanity.

The conference examines the ways in which ideas of “self” and “other” were constructed in early religious mass media through the production, reproduction and use of images since the 1870s. Acknowledging that missionary representations often emphasized both difference and unity of humans, the conference particularly asks how the visual construction of Otherness and (i.e. racialized, gendered) stereotypes intersected with basic Christian ideas of humanity and human equality. It therefore contains three sections: The first section, entitled ‘media and media genres’, explores missionary institutions as transnational image agencies and actors in international publishing and communication. The second section, turning to the analysis of image contents and their entanglement with text, examines the making and unmaking of religious, confessional, racial and/or cultural stereotypes in mission periodicals. Finally, the third and last section of the conference examines the ways in which missionary organizations used images for benevolent or even humanitarian ends: Acknowledging the basic function of missionary media as a tool in transnational communication, this section explores the functions of images in creating bonds between humans across large geographic distance with the goal to motivate charitable Actions.


Judith Becker (IEG Mainz)

Christoph Nebgen (Institut für Mainzer Kirchengeschichte)

Katharina Stornig (IEG Mainz/GCSC Gießen)

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The conference is funded by Fritz Thyssen Stiftung. The conference languages will be English and German.


Thursday, October 6



Irene Dingel (Mainz)



Judith Becker (Mainz), Christoph Nebgen (Mainz), Katharina Stornig (Mainz/Gießen)

I. Media and Media Genres


Chair: Irene Dingel (Mainz)

Christraud Geary (Boston): Providing images to missionary journals: Photographers and the selection of their pictures

Hinnerk Onken (Cologne): Missionsfotografische Bilder aus Südamerika im Deutschen Reich im späten 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert

16.0016.30: Coffee Break


Chair: Sabine Hübner (Oldenburg)

Christoph Rippe (Leiden): »Ein Spaziergang mit der Kamera«: Bilder aus der Mission Mariannhill in Natal, zwischen Katholischer Propaganda, Genrefotografie und Ethnografie

Christoph Nebgen (Mainz): Das konfessionelle Profil von Missionszeitschriften. Über den Zusammenhang von Konfessionskulturen und der Darstellung außereuropäischer Kulturen

18.15: Dinner

19.30: Public Lecture

Monica Juneja (Heidelberg): Das letzte Abendmahl in der roten Wüste – über das Nachleben christlicher Ikonen auf Weltreise

Friday, October 7

II. Stereotypes and Visual Orders


Chair: Stefanie Michels (Düsseldorf) 

Anke Schürer-Ries (Basel): Lichtblicke auf der Goldküste – Fritz Ramseyer‘s Darstellung von Missionsarbeit und Begegnung im Evangelischen Heidenboten der Basler Missions­gesellschaft im 19. Jahrhundert

Lize Kriel (Pretoria): The “reading African” in the hierarchy of others as visualised in the periodical Der Missionsfreund, early 20th century

10.3011.00: Coffee Break


Chair: Bernhard Gißibl (Mainz)

Kokou Azamede (Lomé): Vom »Heidentum« zum Christentum. Missionierung in Bildern im westafrikanischen Missionsgebiet des Ewelandes, 1884–1914

Judith Becker (Mainz): Christen, Muslime und „Heiden“: Die Darstellung eigener und fremder Religion im Basler Evangelischen Heidenboten und Barmer Missionsblatt

12.3014.00: Lunch


III. Humanity and Religious Humanitarianism

Chair: Nic Leonhardt (Cologne)

Mrinalini Sebastian (Philadelphia): Visual representation of difference. On the represent­ation of India in Basel mission pictures

Felicity Jensz (Münster): Images of children and families in German missionary periodicals

15.3016.00: Coffee Break

16.00–17.30: Round Table Discussion: Das Zeigen der „Anderen“

Chair: Judith Becker (Mainz)

Anja Lempges, Dom- und Diözesanmuseum Mainz

Alice Pawlik, Weltkulturen Museum Frankfurt

Christoph Schwab, Archiv- und Museumsstiftung der Vereinten Evangelischen Mission, Wuppertal

Christian Tauchner SVD, Steyler Missionswissenschaftliches Institut, St. Augustin

19.00: Conference Dinner

Saturday, October 8


Chair: Gerhard Kruip (Mainz)

Armin Owzar (Paris): Die langen Schatten des Kulturkampfes auf Deutsch-Ostafrika. Rasse, Religion und Sprache auf Menschen-Bildern christlicher Missionare

Andreas Frings (Mainz): Von Armenien zu den Armeniern: Wandel im Bild des Armeniers in Missionszeitschriften vor 1914

10.3011.00: Coffee Break


Chair: Esther Möller (Mainz)

Karène Sanchez (Leiden): For God and the Kaiser?  German missions’ images, Humanitarianism and European competition in the Holy Land (1880–1920)

Katharina Stornig (Mainz/Gießen): Humanitäre Bildpraktiken? Zur Visualisierung von menschlichem Leid, Not und Hilfe in Missionszeitschriften

12.30–13.00: Concluding Discussion

Chairs: Christoph Nebgen / Katharina Stornig

OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
Katharina Stornig (September 9, 2016). Conference Announcement. Humanitarianism & Human Rights. Retrieved July 22, 2024 from

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