2021 - Lisbon


Engaging the World: The Jesuits and their Presence in Global History

Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon | June 16–18, 2021

Map of New France, 1612
Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies
Catholic University of Portugal


Dear Colleagues,

Due to continued health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, the International Symposium in Jesuit Studies, scheduled for June 2021, is canceled. We waited in hopeful anticipation for rapid distribution of vaccines around the world, but it is apparent that global participation in the Symposium simply won’t be feasible. Given the importance placed upon personal interactions among scholars, and the opportunities for community building that our Symposia have afforded past participants, we won’t offer an online format for this Symposium. 

We are happy to announce that the 2022 Symposium will occur at Boston College. The tentative dates for this gathering are August 2, 3, and 4, nestled in between global assemblies of the International Federation of Catholic Universities and the International Association of Jesuit Universities, both of which will occur on the Boston College campus. For this reason, the topic for the Symposium will be “Jesuits and the Church.” The Call for Papers will be forthcoming. 

Meanwhile, the 2023 Symposium will occur in Lisbon, in partnership with Bróteria, with a Call for Papers that will be inclusive of the Engaging the World theme that was originally scheduled for our gathering in Portugal. 

We hope that you will consider joining us on both occasions so that we can continue to deepen the scholarly explorations within Jesuit Studies. Thank you for your scholarly efforts to promote Jesuit Studies and for your continued friendship to the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies and Bróteria.


Casey C. Beaumier, S.J.
Vice President and University Secretary
Director, Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies

Francisco Sassetti da Mota, S.J.
Director, Bróteria

The 2021 International Symposium on Jesuit Studies is co-organized by the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College and Brotéria in Lisbon, in partnership with the Catholic University of Portugal.

It was from Portugal that the first Jesuit missionary left to evangelize. It was in Portugal that the Jesuits founded their first regional province. From this geographically small country, thousands of Jesuits departed to engage with people and environments on a global scale. Portugal, therefore, assumes a highly symbolic position in the history of the Jesuits’ engagement with the world.

Scattered around the globe for nearly five centuries of evangelization, Jesuit missionaries adopted different strategies to communicate with local communities. They were pivotal cultural mediators, serving as cartographers, astronomers, ethnographers, and anthropologists. But they were also artists capable of adapting to local styles, translators and grammarians of native languages, and correspondents who conveyed images of societies previously unknown to European audiences. They managed diplomatic affairs, fostered commerce, and accompanied scientific voyages. They published journals, treatises, biographies, travel logs, and maps, and they participated in worldwide networks circulating literature and art.

This symposium will investigate how such a global engagement developed over time, how it varied from place to place, and how it was similar in different environments. Proposals are welcomed from across thematic, chronological, and disciplinary boundaries that address methods or instruments the Jesuits used to engage the world and its natural or societal environs.

The 2021 Symposium will be the sixth annual scholarly conference organized by the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies. The Institute is pleased to collaborate with Brotéria, the new cultural center of the Jesuits in Lisbon, in organizing this event on the Jesuits’ global engagements. Previous symposia have taken place in Boston (in collaboration with Boston College), Nairobi (with the Jesuit Historical Institute of Africa), and Seville (with Universidad Loyola Andalucía).

Contact the Institute with questions (iajs@bc.edu).