In Encountering Empire
, Elisabeth Engel traces how black American missionaries – men and women grappling with their African heritage – established connections in Africa during the heyday of European colonialism. Reconstructing the black American 'colonial encounter,' Engel analyzes the images, transatlantic relationships, and possibilities of representation African American missionaries developed for themselves while negotiating colonial regimes. Between 1900 and 1939, these missionaries paved the way for the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest independent black American institution, to establish a presence in Britain's sub-Saharan colonies. Illuminating a neglected chapter of Atlantic history, Engel demonstrates that African Americans used imperial structures for their own self-determination. Encountering Empire
thus challenges the notion that pan-Africanism was the only viable strategy for black emancipation.
"'Encountering Empire' introduces a fascinating topic and presents an important contribution to the historiography on Christian missions…"
Katharina Stornig, H-Soz-Kult, 18.10.2016