International Symposium on Jesuit Studies
Boston | 11–13 June 2019

Engaging Sources: The Tradition and Future of Collecting History in the Society of Jesus

Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, Boston College

Since its founding, the Society of Jesus has emphasized the importance of record keeping—of corresponding, circulating, and preserving its diverse observations, rules, and opinions from around the globe. Ignatius of Loyola fostered this attitude among the earliest Jesuits, establishing a living tradition that has continued for nearly five centuries. As a result, this distinctive archival mentality has yielded immensely important source materials that have contributed to the ongoing collective history of the Society of Jesus and to the continued self-understanding of it as a religious order.  Thriving over time, a multitude of Jesuit sources—journals, monographs, archives, centers and institutes, popular presses, and mass media—stand today as unique perspectives, or Jesuit windows to history.

The 2019 International Symposium on Jesuit Studies, hosted at Boston College by the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, seeks to encourage the scholarly, interdisciplinary examination of this engagement with sources—both its continuing tradition and the possible future preservation and dissemination of Jesuit sources. Proposals are welcomed from across thematic, chronological, and disciplinary boundaries that engage the larger contextual framework of the examined sources.


Presentations might address such questions as these:

  • What does the Jesuit tradition of preserving history say about the order’s mission, system of governance, and ways of proceedings over the centuries?
  • How does the Jesuit approach to preserving its shared history compare to those of other religious orders?
  • How does correspondence, private or published, reveal the personal motivations of Jesuit missionaries?
  • What is the Jesuits’ legacy of monographs, translations, retreat guides, textbooks and other printed materials, and how has that legacy changed over time or differed between locations?
  • What are the histories and greater significance of provincial publications (Woodstock Letters, Lettres de Jersey, Letters and Notices, etc.)?
  • What has been distinctive about Jesuits’ academic journals?
  • How have Jesuits used the popular press, their own or otherwise, to engage Catholics and non-Catholics, and what has been the role of Jesuit print culture in public debates?


Proposals and a narrative CV (together no more than 500 words) are due by September 25, 2018. Selected papers may be peer-reviewed and published in open access following the event. Limited funds may be available to assist with travel arrangements. Email all materials for consideration to



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.