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 main focus in the last few years has been analyzing early modern ethnography (literary and visual) 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 both 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 Universitat Pompeu Fabra, which has received funding from the ERC (Marie Curie Program), AGAUR (SGR) and MINECO:

Selected publications

- Rubiés, J.P. 'From Idolatry to Religions: the Missionary Discourses on Hinduism and Buddhism and the Invention of Monotheistic Confucianism, 1550-1700'. Journal of Early Modern History 24 (2020): 499-536.

- Pomplun, R T; Rubiés J-P & Županov I G,  'Introduction: Early Catholic Orientalism and the Missionary Discovery of Asian Religions', Journal of Early Modern History 24 (2020): 463-470

- Domènech Sampere X., Lladonosa M., Moreno Luzón J., Rubiés J. P., 'El procés de Cataluña en perspectiva histórica', Ayer 120 (2020): 327-354. 

Selected research activities

Despite the restrictions imposed by the covid-19 crisis, this year I was able to participate in a few international conferences, including a paper on 'Distance and Credibility in Sixteenth-Century Travel Writing' (University of Leiden), and another on ‘Sovereignty and Democratic Legitimacy in Spain: the case of Catalonia’ for a conference on Conflicts of Sovereignty in the European Union (University of Cambridge and Université libre de Bruxelles). We also had a successful online event to discuss the book I recently edited on The Boxer Codex: Colonial Ethnography and Cultural Hybridity in the Spanish Philippines, organised by Casa Asia, Barcelona. Unfortunatley this year's Covid crisis also forced us to postopone some of the activities at ECERM, including important ones related to the project I direct on Cultural Mediations in the Iberian Empires: Cross-Cultural Diplomacy and Missions in Asia and the Pacific (XVI-XVIII centuries), financed by the Spanish Government. In 2020 I was elected a member of Academia Europaea.