Transnational networks among European missionaries in colonial Australia
Collecting and sharing the correspondence of our earliest missionaries
At the heart of the written record is language. This project analyses how to better understand the role of language in expressing subjectivity and emotional experience in the writings documenting the missionary experience.
The Transnational Networks Among European Missionaries in Colonial Australia: Building a Digital Repository of Epistolary Correspondence project collects private writings and records them via an online database to understand how missionaries chronicled their experience.
The texts will be analysed for meaning, structure and for the languages in which they are written. This project maps the multilingual networks created by missionaries and the models of language used in letters, diaries and other private correspondence.
The aim is to understand the lived experience of those who participated in the missionary project that saw large numbers of Europeans travel to propose Christianity to indigenous populations in other continents.
We are interested in the perspective of both sides of the encounter, including that of European and indigenous missionaries and evangelists. We are also learning about the scope and functions of friendship networks.
Our overarching goals include:
- bringing together large amounts of archival material and developing an online automated system for its transcription and storage
- developing techniques of textual interrogation of the database and semantic and textual analysis
- analysis of the archival material in light of the history of emotions literature
Research team leader
Dr John Kinder's research aims to undercover the real experiences of missionaries and those they interacted with through collating and digitising their memoirs and correspondence.
A PhD applicant for the project will be required to develop tools for automatic transcription of manuscript documents and will analyse the language of emotion in the archived documents.
The application process and general UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.
Requirements specific to this project:
- Competence in one or more European language/s is also highly desirable.
Once you have ensured you meet the eligibility criteria and are ready to discuss a proposal, contact research team leader Dr John Kinder to identify a potential supervisor.