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.
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.
‘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……’
Department of History
University of Wisconsin - Madison
International Bulletin, Vol. 33, No.4, October 2009