Religious Conflict and the Evolution of Language Policy in German and French Cameroon, 1885-1939

by Kenneth J. Orosz (Author)
©2008 Monographs XII, 346 Pages
Series: American University Studies , Volume 203


The book was awarded the Alf Andrew Heggoy Book Prize in French Colonial History, 2009.
This groundbreaking comparative study examines how church-state conflicts shaped the evolution of German and French language policy in Cameroon from the dawn of the colonial era to the onset of WWII. Despite lingering anti-Catholic sentiments generated by Germany’s Kulturkampf and early twentieth-century French anti-clerical legislation, in Cameroon these conflicts created a curious inversion in which Protestant, rather than Catholic, missions were portrayed as obstructionist and unpatriotic due to their preference for using indigenous languages in educational and evangelical work. Inside French Cameroon this situation suddenly and dramatically reversed itself during the mid-1920s as the Catholics rethought their commitment to spreading French in the colonies. The result was repeated clashes between colonial authorities and mission personnel right up to the outbreak of war in 1939.


XII, 346
ISBN (Hardcover)
Kamerun Staat Kirche Sprachpolitik Deutsch Geschichte 1885-1914 Language Policy Mission Africa Cameroon French Colonial Empire Religion History
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2008. XII, 346 pp.

Biographical notes

Kenneth J. Orosz (Author)

The Author: Kenneth J. Orosz holds a Ph.D. in modern European history from Binghamton University. He received a Fulbright grant in 1995 to conduct dissertation work in Germany and is currently Associate Professor at the University of Maine at Farmington where he teaches courses in European, world, African, and colonial history. His research interests include language policy, missionary work, and education in colonial Africa.


Title: Religious Conflict and the Evolution of Language Policy in German and French Cameroon, 1885-1939