Missionary Practices on the Gold Coast, 1832–1895: Discourse, Gaze and Gender in the Basel Mission in Pre-Colonial West Africa

by Seth Quartey


This is a valuable scholarly analysis of the ways that the practices of three members of the Basel Mission (Evangelische Missionsgesellschaft Basel)—Andreas Riis (1804-1854), Rosine Widmann (1828-1909), and Carl Christian Reindorf (1834-1917)—informed the nineteenth-century mission field of the Gold Coast between the years 1832-1895. This study is based upon the original handwritten documents of these three missionaries, which are housed in the Basel Mission Archive in Basel, Switzerland.

The book is located within the larger discipline of postcolonial studies, and more particularly within the framework of Tzvetan Todorov’s discussion of ‘signs’ in his 1984 work The Conquest of America. The study also is set against the backdrop of the important theories on missions in the writings of Schleiermacher, Fabri, and Warneck.

A significant contribution made by this study is that it contains the first discussion of the female German missionary Rosine Widmann, who serves as a kind of example of the then current Missionsfrauen.

This book leads to a better understanding of the Gold Coast, and makes important contributions to scholarship in the fields of mission studies, German historical theology, German studies, and African studies. This book will also be of interest to those studying topics such as colonial discourse, travel writings, women missionaries, gender and ethnicities, and African voices.


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