Dr Pablo Hernández-Sau


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I am a global historian working on eighteenth-century Iberia(s). Currently, I am working as a Research Associated at AHRC-funded project 'Trajectories of Reform. Careering, Networks & Empire under the Early Bourbons (1700-1759)', in which I am tracking the life-path of three itinerant royal officers across the Spanish Atlantic World, aiming to understand Early-Bourbon reformism, and the Spanish world, from a bottom-up perspective. During my Ph.D. time at the European University Institute in Florence (Ph.D. in History & Civilization. 2020), I developed a global microhistory on the Bouligny family, looking to understand how globalization was anchored in Bourbon Spanish Empire. My Ph.D. research was a global microhistory study focused on a specific family of French retailers settled in Alicante, who spread around the world during the second half of the eighteenth century. My major interests are global-local dichotomy; the methods for developing global microhistory studies; mobility; spatiality; the role of formal and informal institutions at the Bourbon Spanish Empire; the role of the economic and cultural inter-dependencies in Iberian worlds during the eighteenth-century; and the parallels between the Iberian empires.


Since April 2020, I have been a research associate for the AHRC-funded project "Trajectories of Reform in the Spanish World. Careering, Networks & Empire under the Early Bourbons (1700-1759)".  Headed by Francisco Eissa-Barroso, and based in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Studies at The University of Manchester (SPLAS-UoM), this project seeks to understand Bourbon reformism from bellow, using the experiences of the mobility of itinerant royal officials to investigate how practices of government and ideas of governance developed in the Early Bourbon Spanish world. During my postdoc research, I am working with trajectories of three specific itinerant royal officials in the Spanish Atlantic. At the moment, I am co-authoring an article with Francisco Eissa-Barroso on what these life-trajectories show us about Early Bourbon Reformism. We are also organizing a conference on ongoing mobilities in the early modern period taking place in March 2021, and we have published several blog posts on the itinerancy of Early Bourbon officials.

Before joining Trajectories of Reform, between 2014 and 2018, I was Salvador de Madariaga's fellow at the European University Institute (EUI), under the supervision of Regina Grafe. My Ph.D. dissertation, "The Bouligny family (1700-1830), a ‘Global’ Casa?" was a global microhistory focused on a specific mobile family, the Boulignys, and their role in anchoring processes of globalization in the eighteenth-century Spanish world. At the beginning of the century, the Boulignys migrated from Marseilles to Alicante, founding a profitable retail business in the city’s main commercial street. Starting in the 1760s, they became soldiers and diplomats, serving the Spanish Bourbons in Istanbul, Madrid, Naples, New Orleans, and Oran, among other places. The Boulignys were not exceptional in the Hispanic world, neither during their time in Alicante nor during their subsequent dispersion. Their exceptionally rich records allowed me to reconstruct the networks and trajectories of the mobility of four generations of this ‘global’ family.

In addition, I had been affiliated with the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, the Universidad Pablo de Olavide, the Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte in Mainz, and the John Carter Brown Library in Providence. In the last two, I was awarded visiting fellowships to finish my Ph.D. dissertation and develop archival research. Especially in the case of the JCB, my stay in Providence allowed me to complete the Spanish documentation from Madrid, New Orleans, and Seville, with English primary documentation about Louisiana.


  • Family, Mobility, Spanish Empire, Global history, 18th Century

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2020 - Doctor of Philosophy, A 'Global' casa? The Bouligny Family (1700-1800), European University Institute (2014 - 2020)
  • 2015 - Master of Research European University Institute (2014 - 2015)
  • 2014 - Master of Arts, La familia Bouligny. Redes complejas y mediterraneidad en el siglo XVIII (2012 - 2014)
  • 2012 - Bachelor of Arts (2007 - 2012)

Related information


Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

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