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Jesuits and Globalization

This class explored in-depth the role of the Jesuits in processes of globalization from the early modern age to the present. Only decades after its foundation in 1540, the Society of Jesus had active missions around the globe: in Ethiopia, India, China, Japan, Russia, and throughout the Americas from Quebec to Paraguay. For two centuries they functioned also as primary scientific, cultural, and artistic brokers between East and West and between North and South. They were crucial contributors to the two key dimensions of globalization, the increasing connectivity between all peoples and the growth of a global human consciousness. The basic premise of the seminar was that the contemporary global age, marked by geopolitical, cultural, and religious pluralism, allowed class participants to reflect in a new light upon the role of the Jesuits as pioneer globalizers in the first early modern phase of globalization. This reflection helped students to discern similarities and differences between the current situation and the challenges they faced as a global Catholic order open to intercultural encounter, dedicated to education and the care of the human person, and committed to ideals of justice and peace and the common good. Students developed in-depth research projects on a particular theme, historical epoch, or geographical area covered by the seminar that culminated in a major critical, analytical term paper. This course (SOCI-411) was taught by José Casanova, Berkley Center/Department of Sociology, as a Doyle Seminar (small upper-level classes that foster deepened student learning about diversity and difference through research and dialogue).



José Casanova headshot

José Casanova

Senior Fellow
Department of Sociology and Department of Theology and Religious Studies