October 28, 2013
History Professor Tom Taylor edited “Forum: Jesuits and World History,” a collection of scholarship that reflects the importance of the Jesuits as critical actors in world history. The volume was published by World History Connected in October 2013.
“Jesuits traveling throughout Africa, Central America, and Central Asia during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries kept extensive journals,” Taylor said. “They did much more than study the writings and cultural customs of the peoples they met. They were the first global citizens, facilitating exchange and dialogue.”
As examples, Taylor notes that Matteo Ricci translated the works of Confucius into Latin and introduced them to the West. He and other Jesuits brought European works of science and technology that influenced intellectuals. In some cases Jesuits negotiated treaties or held key positions in governments in Asia.
The articles highlight the global reach and impact of the Jesuits and explore the complex and varied ways that Jesuits encountered people around the world. They also provide essential tools for teachers interested in integrating the history of the Jesuits and examination of historical sources into their world history classes.
Taylor, the Rev. Louis Gaffney, SJ Chair in the College of Arts and Sciences, directs the Global Awareness Program, a specialization available to students of any major in any college in the university. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and joined the History Department faculty in 1988.
As Gaffney chair, Taylor conducts research and promotes events that focus on Jesuit missionaries and their link to world history. He is hosting an international symposium and teachers’ workshop on January 31 and February 1, 2014, that will further explore the Jesuit role in world history. The symposium and workshop are free and open to the public. Details and agenda are at this link.
The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 42 undergraduate degrees and 6 master's degrees.
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