Born at the edge of the Colorado Desert, Luke Clossey has studied and taught world history for the last decade, near the San Francisco Bay, the Danube, and the Yellow Sea. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Regents of the University of California, Berkeley, awarded him the doctorate in history in 2004 for his dissertation on early Jesuit networks linking Germany, Mexico, and China. He joined the SFU History Department later that year.

Research Interests

Dr. Clossey's research program seeks to spotlight, and challenge, the modernist and Eurocentric values and assumptions that underlie our common sense today.  Rather than reinforce our current sensibilities, his work argues for the use of history--especially pre-colonial, traditional, Indigenous, and non-Enlightenment histories--as a source of "new" old solutions to contemporary problems.  "The Unbelieved and Historians" argues for expanding the categories of historical agency, while "It's A Small World After All" advances a more inclusive historical geography.

Dr. Clossey currently has two major research projects.  Global Jesus: Cross-Cultural Cults of Christ in the Late Traditional World takes a big-data approach (including 10,000 images) to consider the role of Muslim and Christian Jesus in the making of the modern world.  The community-oriented project Thai Forest Buddhism Enters the British Columbian Forest uses oral history to recreate the Canadian establishment of a highly traditional branch of Buddhism in the 1990s, which looked to ancient India to develop "new" old pathways to well-being.



  • "Buddhism and Globalization," submitted (2020) to the Routledge Encyclopedia of the Renaissance  World
  • "The Ethical Age [800 to 300 BC]."  Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Literature.  Ken Seigneurie,      ed.  Hoboken,    New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2020.
  • “Integrating Foreign Language Learning into the History Classroom.”  The History Teacher 5 (2019): 333-55.  Co-authored with Vlad Vintila.
  • "Relevance of Things Past: Contemporary Applications of Early Modern Studies."  The Sixteenth    Century Journal 50 (2019): 141-47.
  • "Religious Expansion in Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism."  In Global Reformations: Transforming        Early Modern Religions, Societies, and Cultures.  Ed. Nicholas Terpstra.  New York: Routledge:   2019, 13-30.
  • “Mission.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Renaissance and Reformation. Ed. Margaret King. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.
  • “近代早期太平洋的商人,移民,傳教士與全球化.”  Translated by 王志红.  Global History Review 全球史评论 12 (2017): 127-151. 
  • “The Unbelieved and Historians, Part III: Responses and Elaborations,” History Compass 15 (2017).  Co-authored Roland Clark, Simon Ditchfield, David M. Gordon, Arlen Wiesenthal, and Taymiya R. Zaman.
  • “The Unbelieved and Historians, Part II: Proposals and Solutions,” History Compass 15 (2017).  Co-authored with Kyle Jackson, Brandon Marriott, Andrew Redden, and Karin Vélez.
  • “The Global Renaissance.”  Journal of World History 28 (2017): 1-30.  Co-authored with Peter Burke and Felipe Fernández-Armesto. 
  • "The Geographies and Methodologies of Religion in the Journal of Early Modern History," Journal of Early Modern History 20 (2016): 1-14.
  • “The Unbelieved and Historians, Part I: A Challenge,” History Compass 14 (2016): 594-602.  Co-authored with Kyle Jackson, Brandon Marriott, Andrew Redden, and Karin Vélez.
  • “Language, Belief, Knowledge,” in The Cambridge History of the World, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015), 132-64.
  • With Nicholas Guyatt, "It's a Small World After All: The Wider World in Historians' Peripheral Vision," Perspectives on History 51.5 (2013)
  • “Asia-Centered Approaches to the History of the Early Modern World: A Methodological Romp”, in Comparative Early Modernities: 1100-1800, ed. David Porter (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 73-98.
  • With Karin Vélez and Sebastian R. Prange, "Religious Ideas in Motion," A Companion to World History, ed. David Northrop (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 352-364.
  • "Faith In Empire: Religious Sources Of Legitimacy For Expansionist Early-Modern States," in Politics and Reformations: Communities, Polities, Nations, and Empires (Brill, 2007), 571-588.
  • "From the Mission to the Classroom: the global perspective and the history of teaching religion", World History Association Bulletin 23 (2007): 18-21
  • "Merchants, migrants, missionaries, and globalization in the early-modern Pacific", Journal of Global History 1.1 (2006): 41-58.
  • "The Early-Modern Jesuit Missions as a Global Movement," University of California Escholarship Archive (2005).


Areas of Graduate Supervision

early-modern religion, ancient and contemporary Buddhism, pedagogy and well-being

Teaching Interests

World history, history of religion


  • Canadian Historical Association Wallace K. Ferguson prize for best book with non-Canadian subject matter. (2010)
  • SFU Assistant/Associate Professor Dean's Medal (2010)
  • World History Association paper prize (2005)
  • Award for Martial Vigor (UC Berkeley, Physical Education, 1999)

Watch Dr. Clossey's video from the "Meet our Professors" Series: