Murray State University

Poster Title

Transnational Influences of Early Jesuit Scholars and Explorers in the New World from 1560-1700

Presenter Information

Lydia Biggs, Murray State University

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

The Society of Jesus, as created during the Catholic Counter Reformation in the 1500s, has been studied repeatedly from a Eurocentric point of view, and this has had a lasting influence on how its impact is taught to young students. The order is rarely mentioned for its influence in the imperial court of the Ming Dynasty in China or their crucial interactions with indigenous peoples in the Americas, particularly Canada and Belize. The Society of Jesus is also seen as a solely religious institution, but the Jesuits were also responsible for mapmaking in China among other long-lasting non-faith based contributions. The role of the Jesuits in other countries are also controversial for the “un-Catholic” and, some would say, immoral methods used. I am planning on using various sources for information for this research, but the most critical sources for me are the Jesuit Archives in Xavier University in Cincinnati and The Jesuit Archives in St. Louis. These archives house important primary documents that will allow me access inside the Jesuit community and history. One of the most important collections is the Belize Collection in the archive in St. Louis which will give me the direct information I need for the Belize concentration of my research. It is through this research that I hope to demonstrate how the Society of Jesus was not just confined to specifically European nation-states, or Catholicism itself, but was in fact its own individual transnational phenomena loosely linked to the Vatican and wielding more influence than many other foreign entities could ever claim.

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Transnational Influences of Early Jesuit Scholars and Explorers in the New World from 1560-1700

The Society of Jesus, as created during the Catholic Counter Reformation in the 1500s, has been studied repeatedly from a Eurocentric point of view, and this has had a lasting influence on how its impact is taught to young students. The order is rarely mentioned for its influence in the imperial court of the Ming Dynasty in China or their crucial interactions with indigenous peoples in the Americas, particularly Canada and Belize. The Society of Jesus is also seen as a solely religious institution, but the Jesuits were also responsible for mapmaking in China among other long-lasting non-faith based contributions. The role of the Jesuits in other countries are also controversial for the “un-Catholic” and, some would say, immoral methods used. I am planning on using various sources for information for this research, but the most critical sources for me are the Jesuit Archives in Xavier University in Cincinnati and The Jesuit Archives in St. Louis. These archives house important primary documents that will allow me access inside the Jesuit community and history. One of the most important collections is the Belize Collection in the archive in St. Louis which will give me the direct information I need for the Belize concentration of my research. It is through this research that I hope to demonstrate how the Society of Jesus was not just confined to specifically European nation-states, or Catholicism itself, but was in fact its own individual transnational phenomena loosely linked to the Vatican and wielding more influence than many other foreign entities could ever claim.