Wow! MiMoRA

Over the past years, the history and impact of missionary movements have become of interest to diverse disciplines. However, this interdisci-plinary booming of the field has also led to divergence. This is why KU Leuven researchers decided to set up MiMoRA.

MIMORA: Mission and Modernity Research Academy

MiMoRa wants to re-invigorate international research on missionaries by bringing together scholars and methodologies; stimulating research in collections and sources; and generating new research projects and publications. It aims at bringing together expertise, steer it towards new thematic frontiers by providing a forum for academic debate and creating new networks for young scholars across the globe. KU Leuven has a long research tradition in the field of missionaries and also hosts unique and internationally relevant collections (archives and libraries). MiMoRA is coordinated by KADOC, the interfaculty Documentation and Research Center on Religion Culture and Society at KU Leuven.

By means of an open call for papers, MiMoRa wants to invite young scholars – about half from Europe and about half from the Global South – and host them in Leuven. On the one hand, they will be acquainted with the Leuven missionary sources. During a workshop, they will be introduced to the Leuven collections, the research tools (LIAS, Limo, ODIS, …) and the Leuven expertise. Participants will be able to consult the sources relevant for their own cases, such as the archives of Jesuits, Capuchins, Franciscans, Dominicans, and Scheut, as well as many periodicals and books in English, French, Spanish and local languages. On the other hand, the invited scholars will present and discuss their work during a seminar, together with a number of invited guest-speakers.


♦ KADOC-KU Leuven

♦ Centrum voor Historische Pedagogiek KU Leuven

♦ Maurits Sabbe Library

♦ MoSa KU Leuven

Missionaries and Education

The first Research Academy will study the theme of Christian Missionaries, Modernity and Education and take place from 13 to 21 September. It examines the 19th and 20th century, but also includes aspects such as heritage and postcolonial memory.

It obviously is very interested in the religious factor, including inter-religious collaboration or inspiration, as well as the relationship with the secular and the profane. Education is interpreted in a broad way, and includes different types and levels of education (private/public, elementary, secondary, university, business and management schools…) in various pedagogical contexts (e.g. catechesis, health prevention, radio & cinema, etc.).

We feel very strongly about innovative and interdisciplinary aspects, examining how, for example, language, acoustics, material culture, and sports and leisure have contributed to the construction and deconstruction of identities and difference in (post-)colonial contexts. Important shifts in vocabulary have occurred: instead of speaking in terms of enlightening and civilization, discourses began making use of concepts like development, guided assistance and so forth. Acoustics are interpreted as the complex interplay of divergent sounds and silences (for instance music education and the way missionaries perceived the sounds produced by the local population). Material culture refers to architecture, material gifts, school furniture, etc. Sports and leisure allude to the importance attached to bodily activity within the colonial enterprise by the missionaries and include aspects such as the introduction of football, the problematization of swimming and the highly debated topic of whether men and women could practice together.


MiMoRA I will take place in Leuven from 13 to 21 September 2018. All participants will be offered accommodation (with a maximum of ten nights); participants from beyond Europe and North America will also receive funding for travel costs.

In order to apply, please send your research proposal (max. 1,500 words, including both your current research and its link with Leuven collections), a CV (max. 1 page, with a picture and language skills), copies of your diplomas, a letter of motivation (ca. 500 words), and a letter of recommendation by your supervisor via the application form on the webpage.
Deadline for submissions is 30 April.

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