Local Christianities: Franciscan Conflicts and Accommodations in Asia and Latin America

AHA Session 141
Saturday, January 7, 2012: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Chicago Ballroom B (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Jack Clark Robinson, Oblate School of Theology
Jack Clark Robinson, Oblate School of Theology

Session Abstract

Based on new research in Franciscan and local archives, this panel considers how such factors as European nationalism and Catholic doctrine conflicted with and conformed to native religio-cultural expressions in Latin America and Asia. The panelists explore the theme of globalized Christianities, and investigate how Franciscan friars and nuns, known for their “colonial enterprise” in new lands, often accommodated their religious teachings to indigenous cultural mores, sometimes blurring the boundaries between religious distinctions. In some contexts the Franciscan impulse to graft Christianity onto local religious and intellectual traditions was obscured by anticipated cultural antagonisms, such as in China, where anticipated martyrdom predisposed friars and nuns to expect conflict in the mission field. The papers in this panel explore how natives of continental Europe confronted the “Other natives” within the dissimilar cultural contexts of Asia and Latin America. The cultural, religious, and political (or colonial) encounters between continental Franciscans and the non-Christians of their missions were bi-directional, and this panel additionally examines how conflict and accommodation was experienced from both sides of the cultural divide.

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