I was born and grew up in Murcia, where I received my BA in History at the Departamento de Historia Moderna, Contemporanea y de America at the Universidad de Murcia, Spain, in 2002. Since then my research has been moved from Social and Cultural History through the study of family networks belonging to the elite and aristocracy in the Crown of Castile (XVIth-XIXth centuries) to Economic History by analyzing the international commerce and trans-national trade networks in Mediterranean regions and the role of merchants as main agents in the change of patterns of consumption. The former research was carried out at the 'Seminario de Familia y Elite de Poder' (http://www.um.es/familia/investigacion.html), Universidad de Murcia, research group in which I currently participate in projects and scientific events. Before moving to my current set of projects, I studied the socio-cultural behaviour of elite families of southern Castile, settled in the Kingdom of Murcia. I wrote several articles and present papers in international scientific forums on social change, marriage, inheritance, entailed-state and internal family struggles in southern Castile. These works culminated in the achievement of my MA in 2005 at the Universidad de Murcia, and thereafter I published my book Armas, limpieza de sangre y linaje. Reproducción social de familias poderosas de Murcia (siglos XVI-XIX). I complemented my background by doing another master, at the Universidad de Murcia, on the Management of Historical and Cultural Resources. Within a larger scope I edited a book on different types of families in Europe and Latin America, Familia, valores y representaciones.
The second set of projects started when I obtained a grant in 2006 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Spanish government, to undertake my PhD research at the European University Institute. My PhD was on consumer behaviour and trade networks in Mediterranean Europe. I was mainly preoccupied on the circulation of exotic goods coming from afar markets, mainly Asia, such as textiles from India and China, as well as the consumption of tea and porcelain. The reaction in Spain, during late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, caused by the large consumption of such commodities has been the key feature of my research.
I worked during two years as postdoctoral fellow at the Department of History, Tsinghua University (Beijing, China), and currently I am associate professor at the Department of International Politics at the School of International Relations, Renmin University of China. This experience in China allows me to observe the other 'side of the coin' of such process of cultural transfers between the West and East. I have been awarded an ERC (European Research Council) - Starting Grant to undertake the GECEM (Global Encounters between China and Europe) project. I am analyzing the western presence, especially European families, in China during mid-Qing dynasty, in order to see how western culture was perceived in China. Macao, as city port in which we can note the presence of western families, mainly merchants, and objects, can be defined as major place in which western culture penetrated in China. The current economic interest by western countries in China has fostered during last years the interest in knowing Chinese culture. The main questions are: what is the grade of knowledge of China by European society? Does really China want to meet Europe and have a common agenda? Since the arrival of European pioneers in China such as the Jesuit Mateo Ricci surely there have been some changes and points of common interest, but how can we explained the current massive presence of Chinese migrants in Europe and the low presence of European migrants in China? I personally represent such small percentage of Europeans in China, being the first foreign scholar at the department of History, Tsinghua University, the most important university in China, and probably one of the best universities in Asia and the world. Many western scholars come to China as visiting within a western sponsor, but very few of them stay for long term working under Chinese regulations. Therefore, my research project is not a static analysis of the past; it is a vivid and dynamic study that contains many features of personal and academic experience in the still 'unknown' Chinese society and academia.