Did the Jesuits introduce “Global Studies”?

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date


Publication Title

Embodiment, Identity, and Gender in the Early Modern Age




In 1561, just two decades after the establishment of the Society of Jesus, founding member Jerome Nadal (1507–1580) famously stated, “the whole world is our home”. Jesuits worked for their superior general, the pope (an international, and soon to be global, monarch), and God, not for a government. The libraries of the Jesuits provided support for the spiritual and intellectual life of both teachers and students. Although Jesuits, empires, and popes each operated with definitions of “globalism” quite different from twenty-first century notions (displaying little respect for indigenous cultures or concern for environmental balance, and none for religious toleration), they all acted on a global stage. Merry Wiesner-Hanks has been a trailblazer in teaching Global Studies: via textbooks, sourcebooks, and the Advanced Placement Exams, her work has reached an enviably vast audience, ranging from high school students to university professors.