Early Modern Globalization Through a Jesuit Prism

José Casanova

May 25, 2017

John W. Kluge Center
Library of Congress, Washington DC

José Casanova argues that the Jesuits were the first corporate group in history to think and to act globally. In the early modern era, Jesuits functioned as pioneer globalizers, making substantial contributions to the growth of connectivity and global consciousness around the world. This lecture examined the external and internal opportunity structures which made it possible for a Catholic missionary and teaching order such as the Society of Jesus to play such a prominent role as cultural brokers between East and West and North and South in the first phase of globalization. Their global “way of proceeding,” however, became so controversial that at the end, enemies and friends conspired in their eventual suppression. Looking at the Jesuits through the prism of globalization and at globalization through a Jesuit prism offers the opportunity to rethink some of the origins and characteristics of our contemporary global age.

José Casanova is a professor in the department of sociology at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs focusing on globalization, religion and the secular.


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