Cultural Worlds of the Jesuits in Colonial Latin America


Linda A. Newson


The Jesuits’ colonial legacy in Latin America is well-known. They pioneered an interest in indigenous languages and cultures, compiling dictionaries and writing some of the earliest ethnographies of the region. They also explored the region’s natural history and made significant contributions to the development of science and medicine. On their estates and in the missions they introduced new plants, livestock, and agricultural techniques, such as irrigation. In addition, they left a lasting legacy on the region’s architecture, art and music.

The volume demonstrates the diversity of Jesuit contributions to Latin American culture. This volume is unique in considering not only the range of Jesuit activities but also the diversity of perspectives from which they may be approached. It includes papers from scholars of history, linguistics, religion, art, architecture, music, medicine and science.


  • Introduction
    Linda A. Newson
  • I. Jesuit art, architecture and material culture
  • 1. The Jesuits and Chinese style in the arts of colonial Brazil (1719–79)
    Gauvin Alexander Bailey
  • 2. Two ‘ways of proceeding’: damage limitation in the mission to the Chiquitos
    Kate Ford
  • 3. The materiality of cultural encounters in the Treinta Pueblos de las Misiones
    Clarissa Sanfelice Rahmeier
  • II. Jesuit mission life
  • 4. A patriarchal society in the Río de la Plata: adultery and the double standard at mission Jesús de Tavarangue, 1782
    Barbara Ganson
  • 5. Music in the Jesuit missions of the Upper Marañón
    Leonardo J. Waisman
  • 6. Beyond linguistic description: territorialisation. Guaraní language in the missions of Paraguay (17th–19th centuries)
    Capucine Boidin
  • III. Jesuit approaches to evangelisation
  • 7. Administration and native perceptions of baptism at the Jesuit peripheries of Spanish America (17th–18th centuries)
    Oriol Ambrogio
  • 8. 'Con intençión de haçerlos Christianos y con voluntad de instruirlos'. Spiritual education among American Indians in Anello Oliva’s Historia del Reino y Provincias del Perú
    Virginia Ghelarducci
  • 9. Translation and prolepsis: the Jesuit origins of a Tupi Christian doctrine
    Vivien Kogut Lessa de Sá, Caroline Egan
  • IV. Jesuit agriculture, medicine and science
  • 10. Jesuits and mules in colonial Latin America: innovators or managers?
    William G. Clarence-Smith
  • 11. Jesuit recipes, Jesuit receipts: the Society of Jesus and the introduction of exotic Materia Medica into Europe
    Samir Boumediene
  • 12. The Jesuits and the exact sciences in Argentina
    Eduardo L. Ortiz


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April 6, 2020

Details about the available publication format: Free Open Access PDF

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Paperback edition

ISBN-13 (15)


Date of first publication (11)

Hijri Calendar

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