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Masters and Students

Jesuit Mission Ethnography in Seventeenth-Century New France

February 27, 2015 | Trade paperback
ISBN: 9780773545137
$37.95
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Description

The word "mission" can suggest a distant and dangerous attempt to obtain information for the benefit of the home left behind. However, the term also applies to the movement of information in the opposite direction, as the primary motivation of those on religious missions is not to learn about another culture, but rather to teach their own particular worldview. In Masters and Students, Micah True considers the famous Jesuit Relations (1632-73) from New France as the product of two simultaneous missions, in which the Jesuit priests both extracted information from the poorly understood inhabitants of New France and attempted to deliver Europe's religious knowledge to potential Amerindian converts. This dual position of student and master provides the framework for the author's reflection on the nature of the Jesuits' "facts" about Amerindian languages, customs, and beliefs that are recorded in the Relations. Following the missionaries through the process of gaining access to New France, interacting with Amerindian groups, and communicating with Europe about the results of their efforts, Masters and Students explores how the Relations were shaped by the distinct nature of the Jesuit approach to their mission - in both senses of the word.

About this Author

Micah True is assistant professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta.

ISBN: 9780773545137
Format: Trade paperback
Pages: 264
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
Published: 2015-02-27

Reviews

"A solid introduction to Jesuit ethnography for a wide variety of scholars." American Historical Review

"Masters and Students is a remarkable accomplishment and will have wide appeal for many different kinds of readers in different disciplines. Micah True writes with admirable clarity and brings his research together in an innovative and powerful way." Sara E. Melzer, Department of French and Francophone Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

"Critical of the tendency of recent scholarship to characterize the Jesuits as proto-ethnographers, True reminds readers that their texts need to be read as the record of two simultaneous missions (learning on the one hand, teaching on the other) in order to grasp their full significance. For True, only renewed attention to the dualistic dynamics present in Jesuit mission ethnography can arrest what he identifies as a historical trend that has increasingly amplified the historical voice of the Jesuits while silencing that of Native peoples. Highly recommended." Choice

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