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This seminar falls a third of the way through the year I am devoting to a digital-first monograph, consisting of a series of connected and overlapping ‘artefactual histories’ of the London Missionary Society ( (This project  is supported by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship) My paper will reflect on the completion of Part 1 (1795 - 1826), before presenting the draft of a chapter set in 1832, the year of Britain's Great Reform Act around which George Eliot famously set Middlemarch, a year before Britain's Slavery Abolition Act. I intend to argue that by this date it is possible to make out the lineaments of a 'Missionary Exhibitionary Complex' which would go on to shape what Tony Bennet famously described as ’the Exhibitionary Complex’  iduring the second half of the nineteenth century. My intention is to suggest that institutions which emerged during Britain's ‘Age of Atonement',ii   may be as important for understanding the development of state-sponsored exhibitions, museums and art galleries as the reform of prisons in France, if not more so.  

i Tony Bennet’ (1988) The Exhibitionary Complex.
ii Hilton, B. (1988) The Age of Atonement: The Influence of Evangelicalism on Social and Political Thought 1785 - 1865. 

Chris Wingfield is Associate Professor in the Arts of Africa at the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the University of East Anglia.

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend, but booking is required.