Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Ronnie Hsia

Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of History
108 Weaver
Office Phone: (814) 863-8942
Ronnie Hsia


BA, Swarthmore College, 1977
MA, Harvard University, 1978
MA, Yale University, 1979
MPhil, Yale University, 1980
PhD, Yale University, 1982


My research has focused on the history of the Protestant Reformation, Catholic Renewal, anti-Semitism, and the encounter between Europe and Asia. My current book project, tentatively titled Translating Christianity: China and the Catholic Missions 1584-1780, is a study of the history of cultural encounter between Counter-Reformation Europe and the Ming and Qing empires. “I teach courses in early modern Europe and am interested in developing world history and comparative history courses for the early modern period. I am especially interested in the history of religion and the history of empires. After working on the history of Central Europe for more than twenty years, during which time I have published extensively on the Reformation, Counter-Reformation, and the history of anti-semitism, I have widened the horizon of my research to a global perspective. Thus, the history of explorations, the rise of western Europe, the comparative history of early modern empires, and the history of Christian missions (particularly in China) constitute my current teaching and research agenda. With a background in Chinese history and culture, being born and educated in Hong Kong, I studied primarily in the UK and the USA, and have extensive research experiences in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, Austria, and Italy.

Recent Publications:

Jesuit Silk: The Cultural Practices of Catholic Conversion in early modern Europe and China (in preparation)

A Jesuit in the Forbidden City: Matteo Ricci 1552-1610. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Chinese translation: Shanghai: Guji chubanshe, 2012. Italian translation: forthcoming from il Mulino, Bologna.

Noble Patronage and Jesuit Missions: Maria Theresia von Fugger-Wellenburg (1690-1762) and Jesuit Missionaries in China and Vietnam. Rome: Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu, 2006 (= Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, nova series vol. 2). Partial German translation forthcoming from Fugger-Archiv, Dillingen.

The World of Catholic Renewal, 1540-1770, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. German translation:Gegenreformation: Die Welt der katholischen Erneuerung , 1540-1770, Frankfurt: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1998. Italian translation: La Controriforma. Il mondo del rinnovamento cattolico (1540-1770). Bologna: Mulino, 2001. Italian 1st edition reprint: Milan: il Giornale, 2006 (=Biblioteca Storica, vol. 19). Italian translation of 2005 revised second edition from il Mulino, Bologna, 2009. Spanish translation: El mundo de la renovación católica, 1540-1770, Madrid: Akal, 2010. Chinese translation forthcoming from Yuanliao, Taipei.

Awards and Services:

Käte Hamburger Fellow, Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany (2012)
Humanities Doctoral Seminar Grant, Mellon Foundation (2009-2011)
Institute of Arts and Humanities Resident Scholarship, Penn State University (2010)
Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study Fellowship (2005-2006)

Research Interests: