Joan-Pau Rubiés

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)


Joan-Pau Rubiés graduated in Early Modern History at the University of Barcelona (1987), where he received the extraordinary degree prize. He went on to do a PhD at the University of Cambridge, funded with an external studentship from King's College (1987-1991). He was subsequently Research Fellow at Queens's College, Cambridge, and Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. In 1994 he became Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Reading, and in 1999 he joined the Department of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was Reader in International History at the LSE until 2012, when he accepted the offer of a Research Professorship at ICREA, which he holds at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He has been twice visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études (Paris and Marseille). He is currently leading a Research Project on Ethnographies, Religious Missions and Cultural Encounters in the Early Modern World.

Research interests

I am a historian and have specialized in the study of cross-cultural encounters in the early modern world, from a perspective combining the contextual analysis of ethnographic sources with the intellectual history of early modern Europe. I am currently developing various lines of research: 1. Travel writing and ethnography, literary and visual 2. Religious missions, religious dialogue and cultural mediation 3. The intellectual impact of travel writing and the origins of the Enlightenment 4. Diplomacy and cultural encounters 5. The comparative history of early modern empires and globalization. I am the coordinator of the Research Grup on Ethnographies, Cultural Encounters and Religious Missions (ECERM) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, which has received funding from the ERC (Marie Curie Program), AGAUR (SGR) and MINECO:

Selected publications

Rubiés JP & Ollé M, ‘The comparative history of a genre: The production and circulation of books on travel and ethnographies in early modern Europe and China’, Modern Asian Studies, 50, 1 (2016): 259-309.

Rubiés JP 2016, ‘From Christian apologetics to Deism: Libertine readings of Hindusim, 1600-1730’, in Bulman W & Ingram R (eds), God in the Enightenment, Oxford University Press, pp. 107-135.

Rubiés JP 2016, ‘Political Rationality and Cultural Distance in the European Embassies to Shah Abbas’, Journal of Early Modern History, 20: 351-389.

– Osborne T & Rubiés JP 2016, ‘Introduction: Diplomacy and Cultural Translation in the Early Modern World’, Journal of Early Modern History, 20: 313-330.

Selected research activities

In 2016 I spoke about ‘Catalan Independence Referendums: Problem or Solution?’ at New York University; ‘Imperial Emulation and the Making of The Principal Navigations’ at Christ Church Oxford; ‘Conceptualizing the Local in Early Modern Religious and Political Encounters’ at UPF Barcelona; ‘Comparing Cultures in the Early Modern World’ at the University of Cambridge; ‘Sacred History and Comparative Ethnography in Lafitau’ in Geneva; Re-thinking La Crise de la Conscience Européenne‘ at EUI Florence; and ‘The Boxer Codex in a Comparative Perspective’ at UPF.

I also offered two keynote lectures, ‘Etnografías misioneras y el problema de la traducción cultural’, XVI Jornadas Internacionales sobre Misiones Jesuíticas (Resistencia, Argentina), and ‘Civility across cultures in the early Modern World’, Government College, Lahore.

Our Research Group ECERM organized a colloquium on The Boxer Codex: Colonial Ethnography in the Spanish Philippines, and an international conference on Locality and Globality in Early Modern Cultural Encounters: A Comparative Analysis of Religious and Political Accommodation. We received confirmation of a new grant from MINECO to develop a project on Cultural Mediations in the Iberian Empires (2017-2020).