Baptism – Virtue – Death. Denominational Spaces of Knowledge in German-speaking Missionary Periodicals for Children, 1842–1918

Principal Investigator: Stefan Dixius, MA (Trier University)

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ursula Lehmkuhl

Duration: since January 2019

The dissertation examines the perception and representation of the "Self" and the "Other" in German-language Catholic and Protestant children's missionary periodicals from the 19th century. Based on the observation that high circulation numbers demonstrate a quantitatively wide distribution of children's missionary periodicals in the German-speaking areas of Europe, the periodicals are considered as an important source for the representation of the non-European world for a young target audience. Using a knowledge-historical approach, the project analyzes the representational strategies of the respective editors. Three categories of analysis, namely "baptism," "virtue," and "death", provide the argumentative structure of the dissertation. Thus, the dissertation will, on the one hand, examine how knowledge about baptism, death, and virtue, understood as the "right" way of life as interpreted by Christians, was instrumentalized in the reports from the so-called "pagan world" in order to make the necessity of the Christian mission clear to the German-speaking readership. Based on these results, the project will demonstrate on the other hand how the constructed knowledge was instrumentalized for a religious pedagogical agenda.