Missionaries Andrew and Berta Foster were both deaf. He was African American from the segregated South of the United States, she German — born under National Socialism and raised in West Berlin during the early Cold War. Together they founded more than 30 schools and churches for deaf people in 13 African countries, starting with Ghana and Nigeria, beginning in 1957.
The couple met at the 3rd World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf in Wiesbaden and married in Nigeria in 1961. "By following the story of the Fosters, I am able to examine the intertwined aspects of deaf education in regional and local contexts on three different continents," explains Dr Anja Werner. "My aim is not simply to write a biography of two deaf missionaries, but to create an exemplary case study of global history that includes transcultural, interdisciplinary and intersectional elements and is set against the backdrop of decolonisation, civil rights movements and the Cold War."
In her new research project, Anja Werner is working with colleagues from the Department of History at the University of Erfurt as well as with the University of Education in Winneba (Ghana). Among other things, two hybrid workshops in cooperation with the national deaf associations in Germany and Ghana are planned as part of the project.