We commonly assume that the early history of the Pimeria Alta (now Sonora/Arizona) was greatly determined by the Spanish colonizers. But, in reality, the Jesuit Order can be credited with having had the greatest impact on the region, perhaps best represented by Padre Eusebio Kino. A surprisingly large number of his successors hailed from German-speaking lands and they all played major roles in the early history of the Southwest. This presentation illuminates the historical background of the Jesuit Order and explores some of the key German Jesuit missionaries to the Pimeria Alta. Moreover, this presentation will bring to light some of the most recent research on this topic, including an exciting collection of original texts and letters.
Albrecht Classen is University Distinguished Professor of German Studies at the University of Arizona, focusing his research and teaching on the Middle Ages, the early modern age, and on modern issues, such as the environment, gender, immigration, the border, and transcultural experiences. More specifically, his topics of interest concern love and marriage throughout time, the relationship between Jews and Christians in past and present, the history of early Sonora/Arizona through the lens of the German-speaking Jesuit missionaries of the eighteenth century, and borderlands in Germany in comparison to borderlands of the United States. For Classen, all research in the humanities must be related to the concerns and interests of those living today.