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 two new projects. The first centers on the journey to London undertaken in the early 1790s by four sons of the deposed nawab of Broach (Bharuch, in Gujarat). The main focus is on one of the brothers, Ahmed Khan, who got stranded in France for two years, from 1793 to 1795. By following the paper trail he left behind him, this project in connected micro-history will try to make sense of what it was to be a trans-imperial subject on the move in the age of revolutions.
The second project will examine the global ginseng trade in the 18th century. Exploring how Europeans tried to sell North American ginseng to China, this work will endeavour 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.