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Title: Civility and savagery : becoming related in seventeenth-century new France
Author: Russell, James Darrin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2710 6614
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis is focussed on how the Society of Jesus constructed and disseminated representations of savageness and civility within and through the Relations des Jésuites de la Nouvelle-France (1632-1673). In particular, I discuss how the Jesuits used images of savageness and civility to construct an argument on what they believed human beings were and could be. I argue that for the Jesuits, the condition of ‘savagery’ was ultimately predicated upon notions of order and disorder. In particular, the Jesuits understood ‘savagery’ to be a life outside of the Christian community, one which was guided not by reason, but driven by the passions. Moreover, when mobilising the concept of ‘savagery’ in this fashion, the Jesuits were arguing for the need for a hierarchical catholic civil society. Although the Jesuits did not promote a ‘noble savage’, their optimistic view of human potential did allow them to present to their readers the figure of the ‘virtuous savage’ – primarily in the shape of the committed Christian believer. As a social commentary, though the representations ‘savageness’ within the Jesuits’ missionary narratives could critique the conceits of Europe, they did not draw the values of civility and Catholicism into doubt, rather they affirmed these ‘universal’ values. Therefore, although the Relations provide us with a narrative of the Fathers’ attempts to convert the savage ‘Other’, the images of ‘savageness’ contained within these texts are directed towards the conscience of the readers Relations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Jesuits