Cultural Encounters in India: The Local Co-Workers Of The Tranquebar Mission, 18th To 19th Centuries
Heike Liebau
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Social Science Press

Cultural Encounters in India : The Local Co-workers of the Tranquebar Mission, 18th to 19th Centuriesis an English translation of a German book which has won the Geisteswissenschaften International award for excellence in scholarship. It is now available for the first time to the English speaking world.

The history of social and religious encounter  in 18th century South  India is narrated through fascinating biographies and day to day lives of  Indian workers who worked in thefirst organised Protestant mission enterprise in India, the Tranquebar  Mission (1706-1845). The Mission was originally initiated by the Danish King Friedrich IV, but sustained by religious authorities and mission organisations and supporters  in Germany and Britain.

The book challenges the notion that Christianity in colonial India was basically imposed from the outside. It also questions the approaches to mission history concentrating exclusively on European  mission societies. Liebau  maintains that the social  history of 18th  century South India cannot be understood  without considering the contributions of the local converts and mission co-workers who  played an important  role from the very beginning in the context of Tranquebar  Mission.

Heike Liebau is Senior Research Fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin. Her research interest lies in the history of cultural encounters, biographical studies and questions of knowledge production. She is the co-editor of Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India (with Y. Vincent Kumaradoss and Andreas Gross), Halle 2006; and of The World in World Wars: Experiences, Perceptions and Perspectives from Africa and Asia (with Katrin Bromber, Katharina Lange, Dyala Hamzah, Ravi Ahuja), Leiden, Boston 2010.

Approaches to an Intermediary Group 

1. History of the Tranquebar Mission
2. Local Mission Workers
3. The Hierarchical Structure of the Mission Organization
4. Dialogue and Conflict
5. The Role of Local Mission Employees in Education
6. Women in the Tranquebar Mission

Concluding Observations:
Indian Mission Employees and European-Indian Cultural Contact

Biographies of South Indian country pastors
Illustrations and Maps
Noteon the spelling of Indian terms

‘This appearance of Heike Liebau’s magisterial work in English is a welcome event.  Profound in originality, fresh findings and perceptions, thoroughness and tight analysis, this represents a significant contribution to historical understandings of India.  Beyond her grasp of Eurocentric historiographies lies her remarkably astute command of Indocentric perspectives.  Sharply etched micro-historical features of conflicting cultural influences on local societies in South India are neatly fitted into wider contexts under the rising imperium of the (British) East India Company.’

Robert Eric Frykenberg
Professor Emeritus of History & South Asian Studies

‘…….Liebau’s greatest achievement lies in her penetrating and sensitive treatment of Tamil leaders…..Several of Tamil men and women introduced here were fully competent in working with Sanskrit, Greek, and Hebrew texts, in addition to several European and Indian languages……’

Paul Grant
Department of History
University of Wisconsin - Madison
International Bulletin
, Vol. 33, No.4, October 2009

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