“Christianity, Commerce and Civilization”: Child Labor and the Basel Mission in Colonial Ghana, 1855–1914

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 November 2014

Catherine Koonar

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Focusing specifically on colonial Ghana between 1855 and 1914, this article aims to situate the history of child labor in colonial Africa within the larger historiography of African labor history. Relying primarily on the records of the Basel Mission, this article complicates the narrative of labor history by studying how the mission acquired and sustained the labor of children and youth at various mission stations as part of the greater “missionary project.” This article argues that childhood in colonial Ghana can be viewed as a site of contestation between the competing interests of patriarchy, race, and colonial and missionary authority, in which the labor of children was used to achieve a larger degree of control and influence in the region.

TypeAfrican Labor HistoriesInformation

International Labor and Working-Class History , Volume 86 , Fall 2014 , pp. 72 – 88

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0147547914000106[Opens in a new window] CopyrightCopyright © International Labor and Working-Class History, Inc. 2014 

source https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-labor-and-working-class-history/article/abs/christianity-commerce-and-civilization-child-labor-and-the-basel-mission-in-colonial-ghana-18551914/F6810D9896CFE0CC6AED4E41D70524FF

1 reply

  1. And I worked for one year with the Union Trading Company of Ghana Ltd, the successor of the Basel Trading Company, which was affiliated with the Basel Mission. (1972/3).

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