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Skidmore College
Greenberg Middle East Scholar-In-Residence

Greenberg Middle East Scholar-In-ResidenceEarly Modern Encounters between Religious Specialists:
Jesuits in Ethiopia and India


Leonardo Cohen, 2018 Greenberg Middle East Scholar-in-Residence

Thursday, September 20
7:30 p.m., Davis Auditorium, Skidmore College

Dr. Leonardo Cohen, Greenberg Middle East Scholar-in-Residence at Skidmore College, and Dr. Jesse Sargent, a historian of Jesuit missions in Asia, will discuss early modern encounters between Jesuit missionaries and the leaders and representatives of local religious denominations across the globe. The conversation explores the historical tensions that emerged around these encounters in India, Hormuz, and Ethiopia. Specifically, it will concentrate on the ways in which missionaries produced different readings of "asceticism" as a form of devotion and religiosity. What sorts of insights do these different readings provide into the world view of Jesuit missionaries? What do they tell historians about cross cultural encounters? The conversation will explore these and other thematic, historiographical, and methodological issues related to the study of Jesuit missionaries in the early modern world.

Leonardo Cohen is the 2018 Greenberg Middle East Scholar-in-Residence at Skidmore College. He is on the faculty at the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. At Skidmore this fall, he is teaching a seminar course in the History Department called “Early-modern Missionaries in Africa and the Middle East.” As an historian, three topics have commanded Cohen’s attention: the Portuguese-Jesuit mission to Ethiopia; the Iberian Catholic Church’s easterly expansion during the Early Modern period; and the evolution of Socialist thought in Latin America and Africa. He is author of The Missionary Strategies of the Jesuits in Ethiopia (1555-1632), (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2009). Cohen is co-founder of the movement J AMLAT (Progressive Latino-American Jews for Peace), active in Israel, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. In the context of such activities, Cohen gives informal presentations at Jewish communities and High Schools.


Jesse Sargent, Historian of Jesuit missions in Asia

Jesse Sargent is a historian of Jesuit missions in early modern Asia. In 2017, he completed his dissertation, entitled "Accommodatio: A Jesuit Idea," in the Department of International History at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. Dr. Sargent has been a visiting researcher at the Center for Humanities, New University Lisbon, and an Associate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

Co-sponsored by the Office of Special Programs and the Department of History.

Admission is free and open to the public


The Greenberg Middle East Scholar-in-Residence Series is made possible by a gift from Jane Greenberg '81. The series enables the college to host an Israeli scholar who through teaching, lecturing and participating in campus life, educates the community on a range of topics concerning political life in the Middle East.