Rahul Markovits is Associate Professor (maître de conférences) in early modern history at the Ecole Normale Supérieure.
His work focuses on the circulation of people, texts, objects and cultural products on a transnational scale during the long 18th century.
His PhD dissertation was awarded the 2012 Baluze prize in local European history. It was published under the title Civiliser l’Europe. Politiques du théâtre français au XVIIIe siècle (Paris, Fayard, 2014). By examining the presence of French companies of actors in a wide set of courts and cities throughout Europe (Geneva, Brussels, Vienna, Turin, Parma, Stockholm, Mainz), the book uncovers the complex mechanisms underpinning the dissemination of French culture during the long 18th century (including the revolutionary and Napoleonic periods), thus challenging the traditional Europe française thesis. Among the topics discussed in the book are transnational labour history, early-modern court culture and republicanism, soft power and cultural imperialism.
He has started research on a new project, which will examine the global ginseng trade in the 18th century. Exploring how Europeans tried to sell North American ginseng to China, the aim of the project is to shed light on the dynamics, but also the dead ends, of 18th century globalization, and in particular on the part French networks (jesuits, botanists, the Compagnie des Indes) played in the process.