Joan-Pau Rubiés

Joan-Pau Rubiés

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


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 2019, ‘The Jesuits and the Enlightenment’, in The Oxford Handbook of Jesuits. Edited by Ines G. Županov. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 855-890.

– Ollé M & Rubiés JP (eds.) 2019, El Códice Boxer: Etnografía Colonial e Hibridismo Cultural en las Islas Filipinas. Barcelona: Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona. Includes ‘Introducción: El Redescubrimiento de Códice Boxer’, pp.  9-20.

Rubiés JP 2019, ‘El Códice Boxer como enigma: en búsqueda de la voz de un autor’, in El Códice Boxer: Etnografía colonial e hibridismo cultural en las islas Filipinas, eds. Ollé M & Rubiés JP. Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, pp. 37-90.

Rubiés JP 2019, ‘Histoire sacrée et ethnographie comparative chez Lafitau’, in La plume et le calumet. Joseph-François Lafitau et les sauvages ameriquains, eds. Mélanie Lozat & Sara Petrella. Paris: Classiques Garnier, pp. 63-81.

Rubiés JP 2019, ‘La Unión Europea y el proceso del Brexit, ¿Una Unión Europea en crisis? Reflexiones para un debate urgente, eds. Fernando Guirao & Josep Pich Mitjana. Los Libros de la Catarata: Madrid, pp.168-200.

Selected research activities

This year saw the completion of the book project on the Boxer Codex, a rare and lavishly illustrated illustrated manuscript with ethnographic information produced in Spanish Manila in the late sixteenth century. Other activities included talks on ‘Race and Racism in the Colonial Empires of Castile and Portugal’ (CORPI conference, Madrid); ‘The Jesuit image of the civilization and religion of Japan: contradictions and impacts’, Japan and Spain’s Golden Age (UAM); ‘From idolatry to religions: The missionary discourse on Buddhism and the invention of theistic Confucianism‘, Seminar for Global Intellectual History (University of Amsterdam); a keynote lecture on ‘Outsiders and Insiders: European perceptions of India and the problem of Cultural Distance’ (Nehru Memorial Museum, New Delhi); and further seminar talks at the Universities of Turin, Barcelona, and King’s College London.