Early Jesuit Pedagogy and the Subordination of Women: Resources from the <i>Ratio Studiorum</i>

Colleen McCluskey

in Jesuit and Feminist Education

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780823233311
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241743 | DOI:
Early Jesuit Pedagogy and the Subordination of Women: Resources from the Ratio Studiorum

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This chapter explores the extent to which the Ratio Studiorum (1599), a cornerstone of Ignatian pedagogy, contains methods for self-critique that might have allowed the early Jesuits to conceive of a more liberal attitude toward women. Although the typical course of study for university students, heavily weighted toward Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, contained biased notions of gender, the authors of the Ratio Studiorum also advocated exclusive “domains of responsibilities” that accorded females some independence and equality as wives. It concludes that Jesuit pedagogy allows for—even encourages—the active self-questioning that would permit a critical reading of philosophers and theologians. Hence, “the Ratio Studiorum could have provided the early Jesuits with tools that might have enabled them to recognize and challenge the unjust subordination and oppression of women”.

Keywords: Ignatian pedagogy; teaching; Jesuits; women; equality; independence; oppression; suburodination

Chapter.  6852 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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