Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Reformation und Neuere Christentumsgeschichte

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Theologische Fakultät | Reformation und Neuere Christentumsgeschichte | Forschung | Nationalism and Internationalism in the Young Ecumenical Movement, 1895–1920s

Participants of the Malabar Student Conference, May 1911. Der evangelische Heidenbote 1911, 80.

Participants of the Malabar Student Conference, May 1911.
Der evangelische Heidenbote 1911, 80.

International Video Conference
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Theologische Fakultät
8–10 October 2020

How did Christian groups negotiate the tensions between their aspirations for global unity and their national identities? At the turn of the twentieth century, increasing global connections made unity movements possible among Christians around the world. The embrace of internationalism among Christians in Europe, Asia, and North America occurred simultaneously with the growth of patriotism directed toward emerging modern nation-states in a matrix of western colonialism. As Christianity expanded beyond its predominantly European heartland, Christian leaders found themselves navigating the tensions between their own ethnic and national identities, and an idealistic internationalist vision they often connected to the “kingdom of God.”

Inclusive of student Christian movements, regional church councils, and efforts to rebuild Europe after the First World War, what we are calling the “young ecumenical movement” promoted worldwide Christian fellowship in tension with the emerging fascist, communist, and capitalist empires of the era. The conference explores the entanglements between nationalism and internationalism in Christian unity movements in order to understand their mechanisms of mutual demarcation and mutual interdependence, and their idealistic globalist stance during an age of heightened nationalism. It thus illuminates an epoch that has been under-researched so far.

This international conference is co-sponsored by scholars at Humboldt Universität and Boston University. It brings into conversation researchers working on a diverse range of Christian leaders and unity movements in Europe, Asia, and North America during the period under consideration.


Please register for the conference by 10 September 2020. Registration limited. There will be a waiting list; applicants will be informed by 15 September.
All participants will receive a link to the papers for advanced reading by the end of September. The conference will assume that papers have been read ahead of time and the half hour for papers will include brief presentations by the authors and interaction by registrants.

Please note the times are Central European Times.

Download Flyer


Dana L. Robert


Finding Fellowship: The Search for Transnational
Christian Community during the 1920s

Public Lecture

with an introduction by Judith Becker

Thursday, 8 October

Welcome + Plenary Meeting

Chair: Dana L. Robert/Judith Becker


Panel I

Chair: Judith Becker

Panel II

Chair: Dana L. Robert

John Wolffe
The Open University

Ecumenical Prehistory: Philip Schaff and the Evangelical Alliance 1868–1893

Charlotte Methuen

Nationalism, internationalism and ecumenism at the 1920 Lambeth Conference


Sarah Scholl

Travelling with John Mott. Switzerland and the WSCF


David W. Scott

Leading the World Parish: American Methodist Nationalism in an International Framing


Benjamin L. Hartley

Three Motifs for Negotiating Internationalism and Nationalism in the Life of John R. Mott,


Frieder Ludwig

Norwegian Missionary Educators between Nationalism and Internationalism,


Plenary meeting

Chair: Dana L. Robert



Friday, 9 October

Plenary Meeting

Chair: Judith Becker


Panel I

Chair: Dana L. Robert

Panel II

Chair: Katharina Stornig

John Thomas

Towards Resolving the Nationalist Dilemma: Gandhi and the Ecumenical Leaders in Early Twentieth Century India

Judith Becker

The German Ecumenical Youth Movement between Internationalism and Nationalism at the time of World War I


Klaus Koschorke

"At the Special Request and Invitation of the Indian... Y.M.C.As".
The Y.M.C.A. as a Platform and Networking Site for Asian Christian Leaders in Early 20th Century


Ada Focer

Ruth Rouse: Binding and Rebinding the World’s Student Christian Federation


Yeonseung Lee

Currents of Christian Nationalism and Internationalism: Yun Ch’iho and the Korean YMCA in the 1920s






Plenary meeting

Chair: Dana L. Robert



Saturday, 10 October

Plenary Meeting

Chair: Judith Becker


Panel I

Chair: Judith Becker

Panel II

Chair: Dana L. Robert

Noriko Ishii

Nationalism and Internationalism: Japanese and British Women’s Imaginations of the Other in the World Student Christian Movement after the Russo-Japan War

Yun Zhou

Between the Nation and the World: Christian Work directed at Chinese Students in the 1920s


Deanna Ferree Womack

Islam and Early Ecumenical Thought: Protestant Internationalism in the Middle East and South Asia


Andreas Feldtkeller

The National Christian Council in China during the 1920s between Nationalism and Internationalism



Plenary Concluding Discussion

Chair: Judith Becker/Dana L. Robert


Introductory Statements by

Heike Liebau Berlin, Georg Essen Berlin, Jennifer Wasmuth Strasbourg