Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) - An institute dedicated to preserving memory and promoting historical knowledge in Africa and its adjacent islands

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What is JHIA?

The Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) is an initiative by the Society of Jesus, geared to making primary historical research on the development of Christianity within its African socio-cultural context possible. The initiative started in February 2010 when the Superior General of the Jesuits commissioned work towards establishing a centre in Africa tasked with collecting historical records connected with the Order's missionary involvement on the world's third largest continent. The centre would then make such material available to any researchers who might find the collection useful as well as facilitate targeted research.

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Jesuit round-table meeting about the JHIA project, August 2011

It soon became clear that, for such a centre to promote a sufficiently contextualized research, its collection would have to go beyond what is exclusively Jesuit and, as broadly as possible, include not only records and publications from other missionary societies, but also literature on Christianity in general, other religions of Africa (including Islam), and the cultures which provided the context for missions (see the Nature of JHIA Collection). At a time when African churches are transcending missionary-dependency to become fully grounded on local cultures, the kind of research envisaged by JHIA is indispensable.

Moreover, it also became clear that, once such a collection has been put together, it will serve more than just researchers of Christianity. Most historians of Africa admit that missionary records and publications are an invaluable – at times "the only" – written source of historical information about the cultural, social and political experiences of the people who inhabit this spacious cradle of humanity. Thus, by its very nature, JHIA aims to serve a broad community of researchers from all disciplines, who seek to treat African topics from a historical perspective.

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News and Events

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JHIA Diary 2018 is Out!

JHIA Diary 2018 is Out!

Your favourite Jesuit Historical Institute (JHIA) Diary 2018 is out. Its production gets better by the year and so the... Read more

The Way, the Truth and the Life Book Sal…

The Way, the Truth and the Life Book Sale!

More than two millennia after Jesus Christ this book unveils the timeless fruitfulness of the greatest Christological... Read more

Dr Ralph E. S. Tanner, 1921-2017

Dr Ralph E. S. Tanner, 1921-2017

The Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) received with sadness the news of the passing of Dr Ralph E. S.... Read more

Protestant and Catholic Academicians Mee…

Protestant and Catholic Academicians Meet in Nairobi

Encounters between Catholics and Protestants in Africa was the theme of an Ecumenical Conference held in Nairobi recently. The conference... Read more

Past International Forum

Past International Forum

  'Encounters between Catholics and Protestants in Africa' is an upcoming international forum organized by the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa... Read more

Fr General's Visit to JHIA

Fr General's Visit to JHIA

The Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) would like to thank the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr... Read more

2017 Diary: Africa in Recent GCs

2017 Diary: Africa in Recent GCs

The 2017 JHIA Diary is here! This product is now available for circulation. We trust that our patrons can order... Read more

JHIA Joins RefoRC

JHIA Joins RefoRC

During its meeting of May 2015, the Board of RefoRC accepted the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) as member... Read more