The Catholic University of America

Thomas M. Cohen

EDUCATION Stanford University

History, Ph.D. 1990, M.A. 1985

Amherst College

History, B.A. 1979


Thomas M. Cohen is an associate professor of history and director of the Oliveira Lima Library, a Portuguese and Brazilian studies collection that contains rare books, manuscripts, monographs, pamphlets, and a wide range of works of art. He is organizing projects relating to preservation, access and digitization that offer opportunities for collaboration with graduate students in history, art history, and related fields.

Prof. Cohen’s research focuses on the religious history of early modern Europe and colonial Latin America. He is the author of “Jesuit Missions” in The Oxford Companion to Early Modern European History (2 vols., Oxford University Press, 2015), The Fire of Tongues: António Vieira and the Missionary Church in Brazil and Portugal (Stanford University Press, 1998), and book chapters and articles about early modern Catholic missions, the history of the Jesuits, and Christian-Jewish relations. Prof. Cohen teaches courses on Catholic missions in the early modern world; the comparative history of early modern European empires; religion and culture in early modern Europe; colonial Latin America; the western U.S. and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands; and Latinos in the United States.



Cultural and religious history of colonial Latin America and early modern Europe; Christian-Jewish relations, 1500-1800; comparative history of European empires.

Current research: Jews and Jesuits


Director, Oliveira Lima Library, November 2010--; Curator, Oliveira Lima, September 1990-November 2010

Associate Professor of History, September 1996--; Assistant Professor of History, September 1990-August 1996; Visiting Assistant Professor of History, January 1990-May 1990; Curator, Oliveira Lima Library, September 1990--


The Fire of Tongues: António Vieira and the Missionary Church in Brazil and Portugal (Stanford University Press, 1998)


Co-editor (with Stuart B. Schwartz), António Vieira and the Luso-Brazilian Baroque, special issue, Luso-Brazilian Review 40:1 (Summer 2003)

Co-editor (with Dain Borges), Reflections on Culture and Ideology in the Americas: Essays in Honor of Richard M. Morse, special issue, Luso-Brazilian Review 32:2 (Winter 1995)



Co-author (with Emanuele Colombo), “Jesuit Missions,” in Hamish Scott, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern History, c. 1350-1750 (2 vols., Oxford University Press, 2015) II: 254-279.


“A admissão de minorias raciais e étnicas na Companhia de Jesus, 1540-1773,” in João Adolfo Hansen, Adma Muhana and Hélder Garmes, ed., Estudos sobre Vieira (São Paulo: Ateliê Editorial, 2012).

"Minorías raciales y étnicas en la Compañía de Jesús,” in Julián Lozano Navarro, ed., Conflictividad y conflictividades en el universo barroco (Granada: Editorial Universidad de Granada, 2010).

"Jesuits and New Christians: The Contested Legacy of St. Ignatius," in Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 42/3 (Autumn 2010) 1-46.

“Clerical Matters,” in Company 26:3 (2009) 10-13; reprinted in Jivan (Gujarat, India) “Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Society of Jesus,” in Thomas Worcester, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits (Cambridge University Press, 2008) 199-214.

“Nation, Lineage, and Jesuit Unity in Antonio Possevino’s Appeal to Everard Mercurian (1576),” in A Companhia de Jesus na Península Ibérica, Séculos XVI e XVII: Espiritualidade e Cultura (Porto: Universidade do Porto, 2004) 543-561.

Introduction; “Judaism and the History of the Church in the Inquisition Trial of António Vieira;” Review, António Vieira, Os Autos do Processo de Vieira na Inquisição, ed. Adma Muhana (São Paulo: Editora da Universidade Estadual Paulista; Bahia: Fundação Cultural do Estado da Bahia, 1995); António Vieira, Apologia das coisas profetizadas, ed. Adma Muhana (Lisbon: Edições Cotovia 1994), and António Vieira, Sermões, ed. Alcir Pécora (2 vols., São Paulo: Editora Hedra, 2000-2001), in Thomas M. Cohen and Stuart B. Schwartz, eds., António Vieira and the Luso-Brazilian Baroque, special issue, Luso-Brazilian Review 40:1 (Summer 2003) 1-6, 67-78, 110- 115.

"António Vieira na Bahia, 1688-1691: As Exhortações pregadas no colégio da Companhia de Jesus," in Actas do Congresso Internacional do III Centenário do Padre António Vieira (Three vols. Braga, Portugal: Universidade Católica Portuguesa/ Província Portuguesa da Companhia de Jesus, 1999) II, 1037-50.

"'Who is my neighbor?' The Missionary Ideals of Manuel da Nóbrega," in Joseph A. Gagliano and Charles R. Ronan, S.J., eds., Jesuit Encounters in the New World: Jesuit Chroniclers, Geographers, Educators and Missionaries in the Americas, 1549-1767 (Rome: Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu, 1997) 209-28.