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In: Critical Readings in the History of Christian Mission
In: Taking Offense
In: Journal of Religion in Africa
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Abstract

Focusing on the mid-nineteenth-century encounters between missionaries from the Norddeutsche Missionsgesellschaft (NMG) and the Ewe, this essay shows that the NMG employed a romanticist, Herderian notion of culture and nationhood to establish order and impose power, and sought to prevent Ewe converts from adopting Western influences in their own way. Through an analysis of the NMG's attitude to language and the nation, its linguistic and ethnographic studies, which were devoted to turning 'scattered Ewe tribes' into one 'people', and the education of Ewe mission workers in Westheim (Germany), it is argued that, rather than denying African converts their 'own culture', attempts were made to lock them up in it. Missionary cultural politics, the essay argues, thrived on a paradoxical coexistence of appeals made to both the new notion of the nation as a marker of 'civilisation' and an 'authentic' state of being. Thus, the NMG used the notion of the nation as a means to exert power, to assert the superiority of the West and to control converts' exposure to foreign ideas.

In: Journal of Religion in Africa
Open Access
In: Material Perspectives on Religion, Conflict, and Violence
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Focusing on images of evil, this paper explores differences between the modes of looking induced by the exposition All About Evil at the Royal Tropical Museum in Amsterdam on the one hand and the Christian setting in which the items on display feature in Ghana on the other. While images of evil are more or less harmless depictions in the context of the exposition, in the Ghanaian setting they may easily slip into evil images that render present the very force that they depict. Tracing the genesis of Christian attitudes towards images of evil in Ghana, the paper focuses on the continued importance of the image of Satan in popular Ghanaian Christianity. It is argued that Christianity propounds a religious aesthetics that induces particular “looking acts” and attitudes towards evil through which images of evil achieve a reality of themselves.

In: Coping with Evil in Religion and Culture
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Focusing on images of evil, this paper explores differences between the modes of looking induced by the exposition All About Evil at the Royal Tropical Museum in Amsterdam on the one hand and the Christian setting in which the items on display feature in Ghana on the other. While images of evil are more or less harmless depictions in the context of the exposition, in the Ghanaian setting they may easily slip into evil images that render present the very force that they depict. Tracing the genesis of Christian attitudes towards images of evil in Ghana, the paper focuses on the continued importance of the image of Satan in popular Ghanaian Christianity. It is argued that Christianity propounds a religious aesthetics that induces particular “looking acts” and attitudes towards evil through which images of evil achieve a reality of themselves.

In: Coping with Evil in Religion and Culture
In: Critical Readings in the History of Christian Mission