May 2017: Conference in Rome on Catholic Missionaries

Going Native or Remaining Foreign? Catholic Missionaries as Local Agents in Asia (17th to 18th Centuries), a conference in Rome (30 May-1 June), seeks to “compare missionaries’ roles as local agents in different social environments across the Asian continent.”


Panels are centered on communicative settings for missionary work (urban, court, settings, and rural), and presentations include:


  • “Jesuit Missionaries in the Peking Court City (17th–18th Centuries): Between Proselytism and Acculturation,” by Noël Golvers (Leuven);
  • “Questioning Binary Oppositions: The Augustinians in 17th–18th Century Bengal, by Paolo Aranha (München);
  • “Conflicting Views: The Local Practices of Catholic Missionaries in the Urban Settings of the Ottoman Empire,” by Markus Friedrich (Hamburg);
  • “The Habit that Hides the Monk: Missionary Fashion Strategies at the Imperial Court in Early Modern China,” by Eugenio Menegon (Boston University and the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies);
  • “Missionary Courting in Agra and Nanchang: Jesuit Mirrors for Emperor Jahangir and Prince Jian’an Wang,” by Uroš Zver (San Domenico di Fiesole);
  • “At the Court of God: Tamil Poetry and Courtly Aspirations in the Life of Costanzo Gioseffo Beschi (1680–1747),” by Margherita Trento (Chicago);
  • “Between Convent and Court Life: Missionaries in Isfahan and New Djulfa,” by Christian Windler (Bern);
  • “Missionaries and Women: Domestic Catholicism in the Near East,” by Bernard Heyberger (Paris);
  • “Holy Households: Jesuits, Women and Domestic Catholicism in China,” by Nadine Amsler (Bern);
  • “Transforming Christianity into Kirishitan Religion: Translation Workshops of Jesuits and Women in Japanese Households,” by Haruko Nawata Ward (Decatur, Georgia);
  • “Urban Residences and Rural Missions: Patterns of Catholic Evangelization in Late Imperial China,” by Ronnie Po-chia Hsia (University Park);
  • “Funding the Mission: The Jesuits’ Insertion in the Economy of the Japanese Countryside,” by Hélène Vu Thanh (Lorient);
  • “Between Mogor and Salsete: Rodolfo Acquaviva’s Error,” by Ines Županov (Paris);
  • “A Peculiar Case of Rural Mission: The Franciscan Minors in the Villages of the Jerusalem District (17th Century),” by Felicita Tramontana (Warwick).



The event closes with a roundtable and final discussion led by Charlotte de Castelnau l’Estoile (Paris), Sabina Pavone (Macerata), and Antonella Romano (Paris).

The conference is organized by the Deutsches Historisches Institut in RomÉcole Française de RomeIstituto Svizzero di Roma, and Abteilung für Neuere Geschichte des Historischen Instituts der Universität Bern. According to organizers, they “aim at testing the hypothesis that, no matter whether in the Middle East or South Asia, missionaries’ options for action in localities under non-Christian authorities were strongly defined by the respective communicative setting.”

A full program is available at the DHI website.

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