Papers & Publications

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Re-examining Missiology in the New France

s21966648Existing histories of the brief Franciscan Recollect mission to New France (1615–1629) tend either to overstate the assimilatory character of the Recollect missionary vision or to overlook their comprehensively political vision. Through a close re-reading of early Recollect sources in her Journal of Early Modern Christianity article, “Helping ‘our Canadian brothers’: Early Recollect Missiology as an Experiment in Christian Community, 1615–1629,“ Anicka Fast excavates a missionary vision for cohabitation between indigenous people and French settlers that, while assimilationist in some ways, also reflected deeply a conviction of human equality, a nascent understanding of the church as a political alternative to empire, and a willingness to learn from and adapt to indigenous cultures. The Recollects’ vision was shaped at every stage by their specifically Franciscan practice of poverty. This poverty predisposed them to critique mercantile interests in the colony, shaped their appreciation of indigenous traveling companions, and made them more prone to recognize Christian equality across cultures. 

Funding Sources and Philanthropic Priorities in Twentieth-Century American Mission

David Scott, BU alumnus and CGCM affiliate, recently published an article entitled “The Value of Money: Funding Sources and Philanthropic Priorities in Twentieth-Century American Mission” in Religions. Below is the description of the article:

At the turn of the twentieth century, Western missionaries and mission organizations sought to develop financial strategies that would facilitate the further expansion of the Western mission enterprise. Three such strategies emerged: an increasingly sophisticated, corporatized approach to fundraising by mission boards; faith missions that shifted the economic risks associated with fundraising from mission agencies to missionaries; and self-supporting missions that cultivated economic funding available in the mission field. Each of these strategies had different implications for power configurations in the mission enterprise and allowed the values and views of different groups to prevail. The board approach empowered mission executives and large donors. The faith mission approach empowered missionaries and supporters with a conservative theology. The self-supporting mission approach made missionaries arbiters among a variety of competing interests. This economic approach to the study of mission provides new insights into the complex and contested power arrangements involved in Western foreign mission that extend beyond those gained from traditional political and cultural analyses.

Sacred Children and Colonial Subsidies

By Soojin ChungApril 11th, 2018in Africa, Publications, Students

Anicka_Fast_profile 2 thmAnicka Fast, CGCM student affiliate, recently published an article entitled “Sacred children and colonial subsidies: The missionary performance of racial separation in Belgian Congo, 1946-1959” in Missiology: An International Review. Below is the description of the article:

While most Protestant missions in Belgian Congo gladly accepted the colonial state’s offer of educational subsidies in 1946, a strong emphasis on church-state separation led the American Mennonite Brethren Mission (AMBM) to initially reject these funds. In a surprising twist, however, the AMBM reversed its position in 1952. Through archival research, I demonstrate that a major factor that led the AMBM to accept subsidies was the creation and institutionalization of a racially separate ecclesial identity from that of Congolese Christians. This was epitomized in the missionaries’ vision for a “white children’s school,” geographically separated from their work with Congolese. The enactment of white identity helped pave the way for the acceptance of subsidies, both by bringing the missionaries more strongly into the orbit of the colonial logic of domination, and by clarifying the heavy cost of failing to comply with the state’s expectations.

Korean Global Mission Leaders Forum

jonathan-bonkDr. Jon Bonk, CGCM faculty associate, has been serving as the president of the Korean Global Mission Leaders Forum (KGMLF). KGMLF demonstrated a model of vigorous cross-cultural interaction and produced multilingual publications that address complex but overlooked issues bedeviling missions regardless of the sending or receiving country, mission society, or denomination involved.

In February 10-14, 2011, a group of 48 men and women from around the world gathered at OMSC in New Haven to identify and tackle complex issues relating to financial, administrative, strategic and pastoral accountability practices and lapses in Korea. WEC, OMF, SIM, IBM, and SEND international were represented, along with other agencies whose ministries intersected with Koreans, Korean churches, and Korean mission societies. Major Korean sending agencies—both independent and denominational—all took part. The gathering produced the ensuing book (in Korean and English) Accountability in Missions: Korean and Western Case Studies.

The June 11-14, 2013 forum resulted in the publication of Family Accountability in Missions: Korean and Western Case Studies (OMSC Publications, 2013). In November 3-6, 2015 the third forum took place in Sokcho, South Korea, which resulted in the publication of the book Megachurch Accountability in Missions: Critical Assessment through Global Case Studies. In November 7-10, 2017, forum on “Migration, Human Dislocation and Accountability in Missions,” was held, and the proceedings will be published as People Disrupted: Doing Mission Responsibly among Refugees and Migrants. Dr. Bonk is planning the fifth forum addressing the theme of “Missionaries, Mental Health, and Accountability in Church and Agency Support Systems” (June 10-14, 2019). The case studies for this forum will examine a range of issues and approaches relating to fostering and effectively restoring missionary mental health in contexts of ministry.

The Procurators of the Propaganda Fide Papal Congregation in Canton and Macao

menegonDr. Eugenio Menegon, CGCM faculty associate, recently published an article entitled “Interlopers at the Fringes of Empire: The Procurators of the Propaganda Fide Papal Congregation in Canton and Macao, 1700-1823” in Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review. The article can be found here.

Abstract: The office of the procurator of the papal Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide) offers a unique case study of noncommercial interloping in the long eighteenth century in the Pearl River Delta, and reveals the complexity and fluidity of life at the intersection of Asian and European maritime environments in that special human ecosystem. The oceanic infrastructure of the Age of Sail and the Sino-Western trade system in Canton sustained the Catholic missionary enterprise in Asia, and the professional figure of the procurator represented its economic and political linchpin. Procurators were agents connected with both European and Qing imperial formations, yet not directly at their service. They utilized existing maritime trade networks to their own advantage without being integral parts of those networks’ economic mechanisms. All the while, they subverted Qing prohibitions against Christianity. Using sources preserved in Rome, this article offers new insights into the global mechanisms of trade, communication, and religious exchange embodied by the procurators-interlopers and their networks, with significant implications for the history of the Sino-Western trade system, Qing policies toward the West and Christianity, and the history of Asian Catholic missions.

Church Planting in Post-Christian Soil

9780190673642Christopher James, BUSTH alumnus, was awarded the Gold Medal in Theology for his book Church Planting in Post-Christian Soil by the Illumination Book Awards. Book Description: “Christopher James attends carefully to stories of ecclesial innovation taking place in Seattle, Washington-a city on the leading edge of trends shaping the nation as a whole. James’s study of the new churches founded in this “post-Christian” city offers both theological reflection and pragmatic advice.”



Call for Papers: Medical Missions and Health

Call for Papers Journal of Social History of Medicine and Health Special Issue on Medical Missions and Health

The term “Medical Missions” is most strongly associated with nineteenth and twentieth century Christian missionaries from Europe and the United States traveling to countries in Asia, Africa, or Latin America and practicing medicine, providing education leading to careers in medicine (physicians, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, etc.) and, especially as the twentieth century progressed, conducting work in public health.  Both at the time and later, supporters of missions cited medical missions as tangible evidence of the value of missionary work, and even those critical of missionary endeavors more broadly frequently praised medical missionaries.  Scholars have also explored how medical missionaries have contributed to “modernization.” From the 1980s onward, however, scholars have explored connections between medical missions and imperialism.  This is connected to broader scholarship on the links between the spread of medical techniques and education associated with “scientific medicine” and imperialist ideologies, and can be found in scholarship on “missionaries of science” such as people associated with the Rockefeller Foundation as well as missionaries dedicated to the propagation of specific religious ideologies.  At the same time, scholarship on how local actors interpreted and adapted missionary medical programs challenged a simple model of medical imperialism.  Scholarship on medical missions has extended into the twenty-first century, studying medical missions amid growing globalization and new medical challenges.

This special issue seeks essays that contend with these issues pertaining to the study of medical missions, broadly conceived, from any time period and in any location.  The definition of “medical missions” is deliberately flexible.  If scholar can make a case that their topic fits into the category of “medical missions” the article will be considered.   To ensure consideration papers must be submitted by March 28, 2018 to .  Earlier inquiries are welcome. Essays should be between 7500 and 9500 words.

The language of the journal is Chinese, but English language submissions are welcome and will be translated into Chinese.

Sexual Politics and Christianity in Africa

Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.38.53 AMIn his most recent book, Christianity, Globalization, and Protective Homophobia, Visiting Researcher Kapya Kaoma illuminates the complex and contested nature of sexual politics in sub-Saharan Africa. He examines the way competing understandings of sexuality collide and intermingle, and seeks a way beyond the impasse.

Latin America and Early Modern Christianity

Rady-Roldán-Figueroa-92017-200x300The Latin American context played a central, although often neglected, role in the many Christian traditions emerging from the Early Modern era. This year, Rady Roldán-Figueroa, BuSTH professor and CGCM faculty affiliate, has explored this intersection between Latin America and European Christianity in the following works: C. Douglas Weaver and Rady Roldán-Figueroa, Exploring Christian Heritage: A Reader in History and Theology,  2nd rev. ed. (Baylor University Press, 2017), Rady Roldán-Figueroa, “Introduction: Race as a Category of Anthropological Difference in the Formative Stage of Peripheral Catholicism,” in Early Modern Theologies of Race in the Age of European Expansion, ed. Rady Roldán-Figueroa, special issue of the Journal of Early Modern Christianity 4/2 (2017), “Martin Luther in Latin America: From the Counter-Reformation Myth of Latin American Catholicism to Luther as Religious Caudillo,” in Martin Luther. A Christian between Reforms and Modernity (1517-2017), ed. Alberto Melloni, Federica Meloni, and Stefania de Nardis (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017). [In English, with German translation], “Martin Lutero in America Latina: Dal mito controriformistico del cattolicesimo latinoamericano a Lutero come caudillo religioso,” in Lutero: Un cristiano tra riforme e modernità (1517-2017), ed. Alberto Melloni, Federica Meloni, and Stefania de Nardis (Torino: Unione tipografico-editrice torinese, 2017), “Religious Literature and its Institutional Contexts: Prelude to the Study of Spanish Accounts of Christian Martyrdom in Tokugawa Japan,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte/Archive for Reformation History (Special Issue: “The Global Impact of the Reformations: Long-Term Influences and Contemporary Ramifications” / “Die Weltwirkungen der Reformation: Zeitgenössische und langfristige Folgen der religiösen Reformbewegungen des 16. Jahrhunderts”), 108 (2017).


17th Century African Christian Queen Njinga

Heywood Library of CongressEuropean powers expanding into southwest Africa in the 17th century confronted a cunning and capable leader in Queen Njinga. Linda Heywood has been uncovering the story of this complex figure, teasing out how she ruled and what role her faith played in her kingdom. Most recently, she gave lectures on the subject in London and Bristol, England, as she draws closer to the publication of Njinga, History, Memory, and Politics and Culture: Angola and the African Diaspora. This fall, Haywood will lecture on Queen Njinga at the Library of Congress on November 9th (see flyer here) and again on December 14th at the Mariners’ Museum. (the photo to the left is of Dr. Heywood at her recent lecture at the Library of Congress).