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

- Rubiés JP, ‘What is left of the Renaissance? The discovery of the world and of man from a cosmopolitan perspective’, in A Renaissance reclaimed: Jacob Burckhardt’s Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy reconsidered, eds. Stefan Bauer and Simon Ditchfield (Proceedings of the British Academy, 2022), pp 177-205.

- Rubiés JP 2022, ‘Outsiders and Insiders: European perceptions of India and the problem of cultural distance’, in India and the traveller: aspects of travelling Identity, ed. Rita Banerjee (New Delhi: Bloomsbury), pp 23-44.

- Iannuzzi G. 'An Interview with Joan-Pau Rubiés'. Cromohs - Cyber Review of Modern Historiography24, "Historians and their Craft", pp 123 - 136.

- Rubiés JP 2022, 'Valignano, Alessandro', in Les Jésuites. Histoire et Dictionnaire, Pierre Antoine Fabre and Benoist Pierre eds. (Paris: Bouquins), pp 1093-1095.

Selected research activities

This year has seen the possibility of resuming an itensive schedule of international lectures and seminars. These included a keynote lecture at the University of Oxford on ‘The end of Empire? Alternative perspectives on the fall of Hormuz’; another keynote lecture on how we read the chronicles of Indies in Strasbourg; seminars in Cambridge (Learning and Piety in Early Modern Christian Pilgrimage: Pietro della Valle in the Holy Land), Barcelona (Pensamiento cosmopolita y pensamiento político y social en Vitoria y Vives) and Seville (El Códice Boxer en una perspectiva comparada); and participation in conferences in Florence (Cultural Diversity in Francesco Carletti), Bielefeld (Early Modern Comparatism and the idea of Historical Progress), Paris (Early modern Saints and modern missionary heroes), Zurich (William Hodges in India), Warsaw (Protestant merchants and Catholic missionaries: two different views of Asian cultures?) and Os de Balaguer. The highlight of the year was election to a Visiting Fellowship at Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford in order to conduct a project on the Global Renaissance.