Micah True's Masters and Students

The Department congratulates graduate alumnus Micah True, now an assistant professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta, who has published his book on the Jesuit Mission ethnography in seventh-century New France. Describing it as "The Jesuit Relations re-evaluated," True chronicle's the Jesuit mission to teach their view of the world.

Excerpt from the jacket copy: The word 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.

“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, University of California, Los Angeles

“Original, important, and based on sound scholarship, Masters and Students provides a key to a new understanding of a fundamental primary source for early America, and a filter through which the raw data and facts the Relations contain can be appreciated and newly used. It is a must for historians and specialists in the field.” Luca Codignola, Saint Mary’s University and Università di Genova