Researcher biography

BA (Hons.), BSc (ANU), MIntSt (Melbourne), PhD (Copenhagen)

Daniel Midena was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in IASH from 2015-2018. His interests span the history of science and religion in German and British colonial contexts in the South Pacific. He joined the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in 2015 as part of Peter Harrison’s Australian Laureate Fellowship project on “Science and Secularization”. His role in the Laureate project is to undertake a comparative examination of how successive colonial and post-colonial legislators and court systems regulated ‘sorcery’ in selected South Pacific islands between 1880 and 1980. He also continues to publish material from his dissertation, which examined the ethnographic activities and natural worldview of German Protestant missionaries in New Guinea, ca. 1884 – 1930. One key question for both projects is how modern views of nature (coming out of the natural sciences) have historically shaped the spread and characteristics of Christianity and colonial laws in the South Pacific.

Daniel is co-editor of the volume, Emotions and Christian Missions: Historical Perspectives (Palgrave, 2015) and has also published on the history of missionary ethnography and linguistics in German New Guinea.

A list of Daniel Midena's engagement activities can be found here.