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  • The Jesuits and Globalization: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Challenges ed. by Thomas Banchoff and José Casanova
  • Frederik Vermote
The Jesuits and Globalization: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Challenges. Edited by thomas banchoff and josé casanova. Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2016. 299pp. $64.95 (hardcover); $32.95 (paper).

This edited volume investigates the dialectic relationship between the Jesuits and globalization from the early modern period to the present. The authors, seven Jesuits and seven lay persons, intend to avoid portraying the process of globalization as “continuous” or “unidirectional” (p. 3) and emphasize the subjective and objective dimensions of it. They also aim to deepen our understanding of both Jesuit and global history through the lens of global mission, education, and justice. Part One, entitled “Historical Perspectives,” consists of seven chapters examining, for the most part, the connections between Jesuit missions and education during the early modern period. Part two, “Contemporary Challenges,” contains six chapters with a focus on Jesuit education and social justice, predominantly viewed from the contemporary period.

The concept and processes linked to globalization are contested both within the field of history and across different fields—an anthropologist, political scientist, and historian all examine globalization yet they do not agree upon its definition. The editors acknowledge that within the field of history the debate, unsurprisingly, begins with placing globalization in a specific time period. Due to their focus on the Jesuits, they argue in favor of locating the dawn of globalization in the early modern period. However, this volume is not yet another study in which the Jesuits are typecast as the heralds of early modern globalization. In examining the topics of globalization and the Jesuits concurrently, the first four chapters focus on how the realization of a global ‘otherness’ opened up a unique mentality of Jesuit accommodation: Jesuit missionaries engaged the non-European ‘others’ they encountered in regions outside of Europe “as cultures and not as competing religious systems” (p. 10). The authors unfailingly point out [End Page 290] that this “pragmatic and interactional” (p. 8) approach was limited by regional or even local responses to cultural, political, and economic realities of encounters between European and Asian (or African and American) parties. Ucerler’s, Clooney’s, and Madigan’s chapters investigate Jesuit accommodation—or lack thereof—in the Eurasian continent, whereas Maldavsky’s chapter highlights Jesuit interactions with both native American people and the rapidly expanding colonial societies in Ibero-America. Unlike the first three chapters, Maldavsky focuses less on the viability of Jesuit accommodation; before the eighteenth century, more so than in Africa or Asia, Jesuits were not free of “Western colonial baggage” (p. 11) in the Americas, thus exemplifying the editors’ warning that there was no such thing as a globally uniform Jesuit accommodation. As a comparison of Jesuit missions in Asia and the Americas is still an underused path of research in the field of Jesuit history, it is great that this edited volume does commit to pairing Maldavsky’s research with that of the first three authors. Of those three, Madigan’s contribution most clearly stresses that the Jesuit encounter with the global ‘other’ was not always ‘global’ enough to result in accommodation: for example, the relationship between Muslims and Jesuits never transformed along the lines of an accommodative stance.

Part One contains three more chapters besides the aforementioned four. Pavone examines the different types of Anti-Jesuitism and how each of these movements waxed, waned, and was reshaped throughout the three periods of globalization. It is interesting to learn that the Jesuits’ conservative stance toward modernity during the nineteenth century, the modern period, attracted the opposite type of critics as during the post Second Vatican Council’s period (or what the book considers the contemporary period). During this last phase, it was precisely the Church conservatives who were critical of the Jesuits’ tight “embrace of a strong social justice agenda” (p. 112). McGreevy’s and O’Malley’s contributions provide a transition away from the focus on accommodation to one on Jesuit education, and they take the reader from the early modern period to the modern period. In the last chapter of Part One, O’Malley’s chapter, the theme of justice...


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pp. 290-292
Launched on MUSE
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