Hygiene; Medical Missionaries; Tropical Medicine; Basel Mission; West Africa; History of Knowledge; History of the Body; Mission History
RatschillerLinda (2018), Material Matters: The Basel Mission in West Africa and Commodity Culture around 1900, in Ratschiller Linda, Wetjen Karolin (ed.), Böhlau, Köln/Weimar/Wien, 117-139.
WeichleinSiegfried (2018), Mission und Konflikt. Weiterführende Fragestellungen, in Wetjen Karolin, Ratschiller Linda (ed.), Böhlau, Köln/Weimar/Wien, 239-246.
RatschillerLinda, WetjenKarolin (2018), Verflochtene Mission: Ansätze, Methoden und Fragestellungen einer neuen Missionsgeschichte, in Ratschiller Linda, Wetjen Karolin (ed.), Böhlau, Köln/Weimar/wien, 9-24.
Ratschiller Linda, Wetjen Karolin (ed.) (2018), Verflochtene Mission: Perspektiven auf eine neue Missionsgeschichte
, Böhlau, Köln/Weimar/Wien.
Ratschiller Linda, Weichlein Siegfried (2016), Der schwarze Körper als Missionsgebiet 1880–1960. Begriffe, Konzepte, Fragestellungen, in Weichlein Siegfried, Ratschiller Linda (ed.), Böhlau, Köln/Weimar/Wien, 15-40.
Weichlein Siegfried, Ratschiller Linda (ed.) (2016), Der schwarze Körper als Missionsgebiet. Medizin, Ethnologie, Theologie in Afrika und Europa 1880–1960
, Böhlau, Köln/Weimar/Wien.
Ratschiller Linda (2016), Kranke Körper. Mission, Medizin und Fotografie zwischen der Goldküste und Basel 1885–1914, in Ratschiller Linda, Weichlein Siegfried (ed.), Böhlau, Köln/Weimar/Wien, 41-72.
Ratschiller Linda (2016), Review of: Bernhard C. Schär, Tropenliebe, 2015; Christian Simon, Reisen, Sammeln und Forschen, 2015., in traverse. Zeitschrift für Geschichte – Revue de l‘histoire
, (3), 151-154.
Ratschiller Linda (2016), Review of: Tony Ballantyne, Entanglements of Empire. Missionaries, Maori, and the Question of the Body, Durham/London 2014., in Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Religions- und Kulturgeschichte
RatschillerLinda, Review of: Julia Hauser, German Religious Women in Late Ottoman Beirut. Competing Missions, Leiden 2015., in Historische Zeitschrift
This project uses sources by the Basel Mission doctors on hygiene at home and abroad to analyse how missionary, scientific and colonial spaces of knowledge interacted between 1885 and 1914:Why hygiene? Hygiene held a special place in the imagination of Africa and was central to the reordering of religious, scientific and colonial knowledge at home. This project is interested in the networks, which facilitated the circulation and allowed for the transfer of hygienic knowledge in Europe. Firstly, the Protestant missionary movement had a background in European social history. It linked the mission of hygiene that targeted the immoral living conditions of the working class at home to the mission fields abroad. Secondly, hygiene dominated scientific debates about the prevention of tropical diseases and the elevation of health conditions in the colonies. Thirdly, the pursuit of hygiene was one significant way in which civilisation was imagined. The project of ‘civilising’ Africa became a question not only of intellectual or emotional co-option to European ideas and beliefs, but also one of hygiene and practice. The civilised mind was to be acquired through the clean and healthy body.Why the Basel Mission doctors? The focus of the study lies on the six Basel Mission doctors working on the Gold Coast and in Cameroon between 1885 and 1914 and thus contributes to a reorientation of mission history towards wider issues in cultural history. The Basel Mission played a pivotal role in the circulation and transfer of knowledge about the colonial world in Switzerland, a country without formal colonies. The Basel Mission doctors embodied the link between Protestant missionary activities overseas and the consolidation of scientific medicine in Europe. By shaping discourses and practices of hygiene, they were central actors in the missionary, scientific and colonial spaces of knowledge. This project starts with the sending of the first Basel Mission doctor to the Gold Coast in 1885 and ends with the retreat of the Basel Mission from West Africa in 1914. The period of research opens up a unique historical configuration, which stimulated the networks, circulation and transfer of hygienic knowledge. The heyday of Protestant medical missions abroad coincided with the emergence of tropical medicine as a distinct scientific discipline during what became known as the ‘Scramble for Africa’.Why missionary knowledge? Missionary knowledge was a particularly interactive form of knowledge due to its global scope, practical approach and material resources. Firstly, the Basel Mission doctors acquired local knowledge of faraway places, which made them valuable scientific observers. The relatively late institutionalisation of tropical medicine at the turn of the 20th century meant that it had to draw on existent missionary knowledge about the tropics. Secondly, the practical approach of the Basel Mission doctors ensured that missionary knowledge moulded ideas and practices of hygiene beyond the world of the Church or academia. Their accounts on tropical hygiene found wide recognition and formed an important basis for conceptions of cleanliness, purity and civilisation. Thirdly, objects, drawings and photographs held a special place in the Basel Mission serving as both teaching resources and propaganda material. The important body of material the Basel missionaries acquired between West Africa and Europe developed an own agency and inscribed missionary knowledge in multiple spaces of knowledge.What does this project show? In the process of professionalization of tropical medicine in the early 20th century, the Basel Mission doctors gradually lost their scientific credibility. At the same time, however, their knowledge on tropical hygiene captured the attention of colonial authorities and a general public concerned with the settlement of Europeans in the colonies. The project examines basic dimensions of European contemporary history by showing the religious fabric of both the scientific and colonial projects. Simultaneously, the integration of missionaries in the history of knowledge escapes the danger of implying that religion is an ahistorical field, to be characterised without reference to scientific, social and political developments. The altering importance attached to missionary knowledge enables us to see how Christian notions of purity, scientific discourses and colonial conceptions of civilisation interacted to constitute hygienic knowledge at home.