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2024 - Call for Papers: dossier 2025/1 - Beyond and from the Missions: Jesuit Intellectual Production and its Contribution to Modern Philosophy, Policy and Science



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Topics/Call fo Papers

For a long time, the prevailing view – based on the perception of the existence of a dichotomy between scientific practice and Catholic culture – that Catholicism, inquisitorial censorship and the Jesuits obstructed scientific thought in the Iberian monarchies and their overseas regions in the Modern Era. Dependent on an efficient action of anti-Jesuitism and a historiography that defends a unidirectional process of diffusion of knowledge produced in Europe, this vision has been consecrated to the point that the importance of the Ibero-American world for intellectual and scientific history has been neglected or minimized. The need to expand this approach to include non-European spaces, which have not traditionally been privileged in the narratives of the production of scientific knowledge, is added to the questioning of Western exclusivity in the development of modern science and the crystallized conception that the so-called peripheries of the world have limited themselves to receiving [and appropriating] the knowledge produced in Europe. In this sense, it is necessary to recognize that spaces – such as those of the Portuguese and Spanish colonial empires – were characterized by an intense circulation [of people, ideas and goods], favoring a broad process of interaction of practices, techniques and knowledge between the different cultures in contact. From this perspective, the encounters that took place in the four parts of the world did not provoke the superimposition of one wisdom over the other – or a relationship of center-periphery hierarchy – making it possible to formulate a new type of knowledge about the populations and nature of colonial territories. The Jesuit missionaries, as already pointed out by historiography, were faced with issues that had to be resolved locally – in the East, in Africa or in America – and these encounters resulted in changes in their theological and scientific conceptions, based on the confrontation of situations arising from the process of conversion and the administration of the colonial Empires. Thus, despite inhabiting regions considered marginal in the intellectual scenario of the period – areas considered peripheral and receiving knowledge produced in other parts of the world – the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus were decisive in the production of new knowledge based on their observations and experiences and the productive dialogue they maintained with modern science and philosophy. This singular position was reflected in the significant number of works – such as treatises, chronicles, natural histories – written by religious of the Jesuit order, whose analysis allows the reconstitution of the scientific and philosophical knowledge appropriated by it, disseminated and produced throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries both in Europe and in the overseas territories. This dossier provides for the dissemination of investigations that contemplate the Jesuit intellectual production on the most varied spaces and scopes of its activity, inserting it in its historical contexts, marked both by the Iberian colonialist expansion and Catholicism and by the consolidation or contestation of philosophical, political and scientific theories and practices.

Last modified: 2024-06-15 21:36:03