Meet the Fellows
Fellowships are awarded to scholars in the fields of history, spirituality, and pedagogy, among others, to facilitate the completion and/or publication of academic work related to the Society of Jesus.
Aislinn Muller received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Cambridge in 2017. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on the papal excommunication and deposition of Queen Elizabeth I in 1570. While at the Institute she will develop part of her doctoral research into an essay on the political and religious implications of Queen Elizabeth’s excommunication for the Jesuit missions who were sent into England during her reign.
As a yearlong Institute Research Fellow, Muller will also be working on a new project that examines the role of material culture in the Jesuit missions to early modern England. She is particularly interested in objects of devotion – rosaries, relics, books of prayer, etc. – and how missionaries used these objects in their ministry to English Catholic communities, in light of the restrictions placed on Catholic worship by the English government during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Because many of these objects were outlawed, and priests in the mission were themselves hunted and prosecuted by the government, the continued popularity of these objects can tell us much about the scope and nature of Catholic religious dissent England.
Senior Research Fellow, Fall 2018
Emanuele Colombo (Ph.D., University of Milan and Padua, Italy) is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Catholic Studies at DePaul University, Chicago. His research focuses on religious history in early modern Europe: theology and politics, Jesuit missions, and Christian-Muslim encounters in the Mediterranean. He has authored and edited several books and has published articles and book reviews in international journals. He is the executive editor of the Journal of Jesuit Studies (Brill) and member of the Accademia Ambrosiana (Milan).
At the Institute, he will work on a digital database of the indipetae, letters written by Jesuits to the Superior General of the Society of Jesus to apply for the missions overseas. A tradition of the Society of Jesus for more than four centuries, the indipetae include information about the missionary selection process, the spirituality of the Society of Jesus, the circulation of information on the mission lands, and the ways in which the candidates described themselves. Because of their number, their extremely rich content, and the stability of their structure over four centuries, the indipetae represent a unique and unparalleled resource in studying the history of the Catholic Church and beg to be studied from different perspectives and through the lenses of various disciplines.
Senior Research Fellow, Spring 2019
Laura Madella is Research Assistant at Parma University, where she studies teacher education and training in 18th century Italy. Madella holds a B.A. in Italian Studies and Philology (Parma) and received her Ph.D. in History of Education from Roma Tre University, defending a dissertation on the Spanish heretic Juan de Valdés and his dialogue Alphabeto Christiano (1545). As well as outlining the most important issues of Valdés’s theology, the work explains how some Christian people should educate themselves and their own soul and consciousness, without any intermediary or supervisor but God.
Madella is author of various articles and literary translations from French and German to Italian, and Scientific Board Member of Instituto Juan Andrés de Comparatística y Globalización (Universidad de Alicante).
At Boston College she will collaborate in the Jesuit Triennal Catalogs Project. Triennal Catalogs recorded information about every member of the Society and their individual tasks, from the 16th century to the modernity; the project aims at transcribing the catalogs, translating their contents in English, and pouring all the information in a searchable database available online for scholars.
Elisa Frei is finishing her doctorate in the History of Societies, Institutions, and Thought at the University of Trieste/Udine. She has an M.A. in Italian Philology (Verona), a B.A. in Archival Studies (Trento), and is a qualified Archivist (Bolzano). In 2015, Frei was an associate research student under Simon Ditchfield at CREMS (the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies) at the University of York.
At the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, she will develop her doctoral dissertation into a monographic-length publication. Her research focuses on a selection of petitions for the Indies (litterae indipetae) written by Italian Jesuits between ca. 1687 and 1730 (during the generalates of Tirso González and Michelangelo Tamburini), especially on the requests to be sent to China and Japan. Frei analyzes their motivations, personal relations (within their family secundum carnem and their religious family), and psychologies, considering them in the context of another important, and so far under-evaluated, source concerning the missionaries’ appointments, that is to say the Epistulae Generalium, containing the Superior General’s replies.
Senior Research Fellow, Spring 2018
Peter Nguyen, S.J., is a research fellow with the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College and an Assistant Professor of Theology at Creighton University. He holds a Ph.D. in Theology from St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto where he trained in the areas of systematic theology and spirituality. Nguyen’s research interest is in the area of spirituality of Christian martyrdom. He has published on the ecumenical aspect of Alfred Delp’s martyrdom and the roles of contemplation and memory in the age of social media. He has also written a theological interpretation of Shusako Endo’s Silence.
His current project is to bring Delp’s writings and witness in dialogue with Ernst Jünger’s philosophy of technology as the contemporary medium to a will to power. Jünger, a distinguished German front-line officer of WW I, championed in the 1920s and 1930s the transformation of Weimar Germany into a Spartan society through a military industrial-complex. Denouncing the bourgeois ethos of Weimar Germany, Jünger encouraged the embracement of pain and self-sacrifice for the sake of expressing of one’s manliness and superiority. Jünger’s writings help to understand the societal crisis that became the prelude to National Socialism. In opposition to Jünger’s concept of self-sacrifice, Delp reveals a self-sacrifice that is Trinitarian, involving a surrender of self—an indiferencia, an unselving—at the foundation of one’s life through the Spirit so that one lives out the love of Christ for the sake of the world. At heart, Delp puts forth a kenotic existence united with a fortitude on behalf of the good of the neighbor.
Senior Research Fellow, Fall 2017
Francisco Malta Romeiras received his Ph.D in history and philosophy of science from University of Lisbon in 2014. His research interests include the history of science in Portugal, the history of Jesuit science and education, and the history of book censorship. In 2015 he published Ciência, prestígio e devoção: Os jesuítas e a ciência em Portugal (séculos XIX e XX) (Cascais: Lucerna, 2015), a revised and shortened version of his doctoral thesis on Jesuit science and education in modern Portugal. In the past few years, he edited with Henrique Leitão the selected works of the molecular geneticist and Jesuit scientist Luís Archer: Obra Selecta do Padre Luís Archer, S.J., 4 vols. (Lisbon: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2015-2017). Francisco has served as a member of the editorial board of the Jesuit learned journal Brotéria since 2013.
As a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute, Romeiras will be working on a book on Jesuit science and education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book will look into the successful intertwining between theory and practice at the colleges of Campolide and São Fiel, where the Jesuits made significant efforts in promoting a hands-on experimental teaching of the natural sciences. The book will also analyze the role played by the Jesuit journal Brotéria in the circulation of scientific knowledge and in the emergence of new scientific fields in twentieth century Portugal. Romeiras will be also working on a comprehensive essay on the history of the Society of Jesus in Portugal, from the sixteenth century to present times, and on a project on the censorship of scientific books by the Portuguese Inquisition in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Senior Research Fellow, Fall 2015
Cinthia Gannett is Associate Professor of English and Director of Core Writing at Fairfield University. She is the author of Gender and the Journal and many professional and scholarly articles in the U.S. and abroad. Previously she directed the Writing Center and Writing Across the Curriculum Programs at Loyola College of Maryland and the University of New Hampshire. Currently serving on the College Composition and Communication Editorial Board, she has also served on the Executive Board of the Rhetoric Society of America and chaired the Jesuit Conference on Rhetoric and Composition (JCRC) from 2012-2015. She has been working with her JCRC colleagues at Fairfield and other Jesuit colleges to renew eloquentia perfecta as a core aim of Jesuit education. Fordham University Press will publish her co-edited collection on the Jesuits and rhetoric, Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Modern Rhetorical Studies in 2016. Her short essay on eloquentia perfecta and the Spiritual Exercises appeared in the January 2015 issue of Conversations. As a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute, she worked on a historiography essay on Jesuit rhetoric.
Senior Research Fellow, Spring 2017
Barbara Ganson, Ph.D., is Professor of History and Director of Caribbean and Latin American Studies at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. She became interested in the history of the Rio de la Plata as an undergraduate at the Catholic universities in Buenos Aires and Asuncion during her junior year abroad. She received her Ph.D., and M.A. degrees, respectively in History and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She is author of an award-winning book, The Guarani Under Spanish Rule in the Rio de la Plata (Stanford University Press, 2003). As a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute, Ganson completed a new English translation and edited volume of Peruvian Jesuit missionary Antonio Ruiz de Montoya’s Conquista espiritual hecha por los religiosos de la Compañía de Jesús en las provincias del Paraguay, Paraná, Uruguay y Tape (1639). The volume, which Ganson completed in collaboration with Paraguayan scholar Clina M. Saffi, will be published by Jesuit Sources.
Charles Keenan received his Ph.D. in early modern history from Northwestern University in 2015. He also holds an M.A. from Northwestern and an Honors B.A. from Marquette University. His book manuscript, The Lesser Evil: Papal Diplomacy and the Politics of Toleration in Early Modern Europe, examines how popes, cardinals, and papal diplomats responded to edicts of toleration across Europe in the late sixteenth century. It argues that their responses were based more on pragmatism than theological concerns, and it proposes that members of the Catholic hierarchy were much more flexible in dealing with heresy than scholars have previously suggested.
With his yearlong appointment as an Institute Fellow, Keenan completed on a translation and annotated edition of The Exercise of a Christian Life (Esercitio della vita christiana, 1557), a devotional treatise written by Gaspar Loarte, S.J. (1498-1553). Besides the translation, Keenan also worked on a biographical essay on Loarte, who, despite being a member of the first generation of Jesuits and known to such famous figures as Ignatius Loyola and Francisco Borja, remains almost completely unknown today. Lastly, he completed a historiographical essay on Jesuit devotional literature, which is available in Open Access at the Jesuit Historiography Online.
Senior Research Fellow, Spring 2016
Eugenio Menegon received his training in Chinese language and culture at the University of Venice “Ca’ Foscari” in Italy and Renmin University in Beijing and earned an M.A. in Asian Studies and a Ph.D. in History from the University of California at Berkeley. He was a Research Fellow in Chinese Studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), a Wang Post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, and Boston University Humanities Center Junior and Senior Fellow. He teaches Chinese history and world history in the Department of History at Boston University, previously directing the Boston University Center for the Study of Asia between 2012 and 2015. His interests include Chinese-Western relations in late imperial times, Chinese religions and Christianity in China, Chinese science, the intellectual history of Republican China, the history of maritime Asia, and Chinese food history.
As a Senior Research Fellow, Menegon worked on a new project examining the daily life and political networking of European residents (especially Jesuits of the French and Portuguese missions) at the Qing court in Beijing during the 17th-18th centuries. His personal website is available at: http://blogs.bu.edu/emenegon/
Jeffrey Muller is Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Brown University. He earned his Ph.D. in art history at Yale University where he wrote a dissertation on the collection of Peter Paul Rubens. There his interests in Flemish renaissance and baroque art expanded and embraced the question of how art made for the Counter Reformation changed society. His most recent book is St. Jacob’s Antwerp Art and Counter Reformation in Rubens’s Parish Church (Brill, 2016). As a Senior Research Fellow, Muller worked on two projects. First, he conducted research for a new project about the Jesuit global strategy of accommodation. In this project he asks: How did the Jesuits fashion their interactions with the diverse peoples from China to Peru whose souls they wished to save? Second, Muller worked on a historiographical essay on Jesuit visual culture, which will be available in Open Access at the Jesuit Historiography Online.