J. Michelle Molina
J. Michelle Molina (PhD, University of Chicago, 2004) is the John W. and Rosemary Croghan Associate Professor of Catholic Studies at Northwestern University. She studies religion and colonial expansion (and contraction) through the lens of the Society of Jesus, with an emphasis on the Spanish Americas. Her first book, To Overcome Oneself: The Jesuit Ethic and the Spirit of Global Expansion (University of California Press, 2013) examines the impact that the Jesuit program of radical self-reflexivity had on the formation of early modern selves in Europe and New Spain. She offers a novel retelling of the emergence of the Western concept of a “modern self” by demonstrating how the struggle to forge and overcome an embodied sense of self was enmeshed in early modern Catholic missionary expansion. Her new book project explores the expulsion of the Society of Jesus from the Spanish Americas in 1767 and the efforts of the ex-Jesuits to "collect themselves" while living in exile in Italy.