Webinar 'Mission-Colonialism Revisited'.

Between racism and respect: What do colonialism and missions have to do with racism?

On Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 18:15 to 19:45 hrs, online
2403 racism and respect

How did missionaries engage with foreign cultures and people in the 19th century? The portrayals of non-European societies in historical missionary publications provide illuminating answers to this question. German scholar Tevodai Mambai examined German-language travel and missionary reports about mountain dwellers in northern Cameroon and north-eastern Nigeria. And Marilyn Umurungi, art and cultural practitioner, analyzes how such descriptions of that time still shape our view of Black people today. In our webinar series, we bring the two researchers into conversation.

Historical missionary publications provide revealing answers to the question of how missionaries engaged with foreign cultures and people in the 19th century. The publications contain both respectful and discriminatory and racist portrayals of non-European societies. German scholar Tevodai Mambai examines how mountain dwellers in North Cameroon and North-East Nigeria were depicted in Swiss and German-language travel and mission reports. He shows how discrimination, racism and colonial images are visibly and invisibly perpetuated to the present day. Art and cultural practitioner Marilyn Umurungi analyzes how such descriptions continue to shape our view of Black people today: What inherited racist images about People of Color continue to circulate?

Tevodai Mambai studied German language and literature, education and didactics at the University of Yaoundé and worked for several years as a secondary school teacher of German as a foreign language in Maroua, Cameroon. He completed his master's degree at the University of Maroua with a thesis on the modernization and Christianization of the mountain people of northern Cameroon based on the travelogues of the Swiss travel writer and filmmaker René Gardi. Tevodai Mambai has been pursuing his PhD research at the University of Bern since 2020 and works at the Museum of Cultures in Basel.

tevodai mambai germanist webinar 20240320 format 4 3 1


Marilyn Umurungi is a curator as well as an artist and cultural practitioner. She is currently a member of the curatorial board of the exhibition "colonial - global entanglements of Switzerland" at the National Museum in Zurich. In her outreach work, she deals with mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion, as well as with forms of racism in the European and Swiss context - often against the backdrop of current social movements or popular culture. She is part of Bla*Sh, a network for Black non-binary people and Black women of African descent.

marilyn umurungi curator webinar 20240320 format 4 3

In the discussion with the two researchers, we ask what these stereotypes say about the construction of whiteness and how it might be possible to overcome exoticism and discrimination.

Host and concept: Claudia Buess, Head of Educational Events, Mission 21. Talks and discussion in German with simultaneous translation into English

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Webinar 'Mission-Colonialism Revisited'.

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Wednesday, 23.10.2024 | 6:15 pm | online

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Protestant Mission Basel

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