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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 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. My focus in the last few years has been analyzing early modern ethnography and its intellectual impact in the period 1500-1800.  This has involved developing various parallel lines of analysis, including travel writing, cross-cultural diplomacy, religious missions, early orientalism, race and racism, and the history of cosmopolitanism. A growing concern has been to develop a global comparative perspective on these various topics (including Asia and the New World) that might help interrogate critically the eurocentric categories of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. I coordinate the Research Grup on Ethnographies, Cultural Encounters and Religious Missions in the Iberian World (ECERM) at UPF, which has received funding from the ERC, AGAUR (SGR) and MINECO.

Selected publications

Joan-Pau Rubiés, ‘Ethnography’, in Information: A Historical Companion, eds. A. Grafton, A.-S. Goeing, A. Blair and P. Duguid, Princeton University Press (2021), pp. 433-440.

Joan-Pau Rubiés, ‘Eran racistas los europeos de la modernidad temprana?’, De sangre y leche. Raza y religión en la España moderna, eds. Mercedes García-Arenal & Felipe Pereda (Madrid: Marcial Pons Historia, 2021).

Rubiés, Joan-Pau, ‘Why Do We Need a Cultural History of Travel—and What Do the Jews Have to Do with It?, in  Jews and Journeys: Travel and the Performance of Jewish Identity, ed. O Bashkin, J Levinson eds. Jews and Journeys (University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, 2021): 10-19.

Joan-Pau Rubiés. Review of: The New World in Early Modern Italy, 1492–1750, eds. Elizabeth Horodowich and Lia Markey (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Europa e America allo specchio: Studi per Francesca Cantù, eds. Paolo Broggio, Luigi Guarnieri Calò Carducci, and Manfredi Merluzzi (Rome: Viella, 2017). In Renaissance Quartely 74 (2021): 613-15.

Joan-Pau Rubiés. Review of: John H. Elliott, Scots and Catalans: Union & Disunion, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2018, in Historia y Política 46 (2021): 380-385.

Joan-Pau Rubiés. Review of: Bernardino de Cárdenas, Memorial y relación de cosas muy graves y muy importantes al remedio y aumento del reino del Perú, ed. Marta Ortiz Canseco (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2020) in Illes i Imperis 23 (2021): 368-370.

Selected research activities

Despite the continuing restrictions, online talks given this year included ‘Pietro della Valle: Christian pilgrimage, antiquarianism and cosmopolitanism in the age of the baroque’ (Berne); ‘Cultural diversity in Francesco Carletti’ (European University Institute, Florence); and ‘El saber etnográfico como saber imperial en las fronteras del Nuevo Mundo: reconsideración del Códice Boxer’, as part of ‘América en la Corte: los saberes sobre América en los siglos XVI-XVIII (Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid).

ICREA Memoir 2021