A global approach to the Spanish monarchy
Interview with Bernard Vincent — Directeur d'études — EHESS (CRH)
Pierre-Antoine Fabre — Directeur d'études — EHESS (CéSor)
How are we to write the history of Spain without studying its American colonies or links to Africa? For early modern historian Bernard Vincent, it is crucial to factor these in. His life’s work has been devoted to analyzing how the Iberian Peninsula evolved by looking at its links with other geographical spheres. He wrote about of the Moriscos – these inhabitants of the Kingdom who were descendants of Muslims supposed to have converted to Christianity, whose expulsion toward North-Africa in 1609 was the beginning of the social construction of a white Europe. Besides, how are we to include the deportation of African men and women to Mediterranean Europe in the history of slavery? What meanings were attached to the worship of black saints in Latin America, Sicily, Spain, and Portugal? The approach taken by Bernard Vincent, firmly rooted in social history, has marked research on Spanish history and contributed to global history more broadly.
One life, one research itinerary.
Interview published on 09-19-2018
Last modified on 09-26-2018
Original language: English Lire la version French
  • Biography
  • Bibliography of Bernard Vincent
  • Interview’s bibliography

Bernard Vincent, after obtaining his history agrégation in 1966, choose to  specialize on the history of early modern Spain, especially the XVIth and XVIIth centuries. He became a member of the research unit at the Casa de Velázquez (1968-1971), the French center of studies in Madrid, and then became its director of studies (1977-1978) and general secretary (1978-1982). Research fellow at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) from 1976 to 1978, he was awarded his thèse d’État, under the supervision of Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie in 1986, that dealt with the joint Islamic and Christian socio-religious history of the kingdom of Granada. In 1988, he became director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Ehess), and he directed its Centre of Historical Research (CRH) from 2002 to 2006.

Bernard Vincent is a specialist of the history of ethnic and religious minorities and of slavery in the Iberian Peninsula, becoming interested in the African and transatlantic dimensions to the history of the Spanish monarchy. In 1992 he made a first trip to the Americas, visiting the United States and Puerto Rico, and started to conduct research on black brotherhoods in Europe and America, and on the devotion to black saints such as Benedict the Moor, a Franciscan monk born of an emancipated slave in Sicily in 1526, and Saint Ephigenia in Brazil.

He has also worked on Hispanist historiography, analyzing the careers of researchers who circulated under Franco between France, Spain, and the Americas, such as Marcel Bataillon, José Antonio Maravai, Pierre Vilar, and Robert Ricard.

His is a doctor Honoris Causa of the universities of Alicante (2000), Almeria (2004), Granada (2008) and Madrid (Universidad Complutense) since 2015.

L'Islam d'Espagne au XVIe siècle, Résistances identitaires des Morisques, Saint-Denis, Éditions Bouchene, 2017.

(with André Burguière), Un siècle d’historiennes, Paris, Édition des Femmes, 2014.

“Représentation du noir dans la péninsule Ibérique XVe-XVIIe siècles”, in J. Soubeyroux (dir.), Rencontres et construction des identités. Espagne et Amérique latine, Saint-Etienne, Publications de l'Université, 2004, p. 33-41.

“L’Islam en Espagne à l’Époque Moderne”, in M.L. Copete, I. Reck, R. Caplan (dir.), Identités périphériques. Péninsules ibériques, Méditerranées, Amérique latine, Paris, L'Harmattan, 2004, p. 41-52.

(with Bartolomé Bennassar), Le Temps de l’Espagne (XVIe –XVIIe siècles), Paris, Hachette, 1999.

(avec Jean-Frédéric Schaub, Robert Descimon), (dir.), Les Figures de l’administrateur. Institutions, réseaux, pouvoirs en Espagne, en France et au Portugal, XVIe– XIXe siècles, Paris, Éditions de l'EPHE, 1997.

(with Jean-Frédéric Schaub), 1492, les royaumes ibériques, Paris, Cahier de la documentation française, 1992.

1492, “l’année admirable”, Paris, Aubier, 1991.

Andalucía en la Edad Moderna: economía y sociedad, Grenade, Diputación Provincial, 1985.

Minorías y marginados en la España del siglo XVI, Grenade, Diputación Provincial, 1987.

(with Antonio Domínguez Ortiz), Historia de los moriscos, vida y tragedia de una minoría, Madrid, Revista de Occidente, 1978.

Marcel Bataillon, Érasme et l'Espagne - Recherches sur l'histoire spirituelle du XVIe siècle, Genève, Droz, [1937] 1998.

Bartolomé Bennassar, Lucile Bennassar, Les Chrétiens d’Allah. L'histoire extraordinaire des renégats, XVIe – XVIIe siècle, Paris, Perrin, 1989.

Antonio Domínguez Ortiz, La Sociedad americana y la corona española en el siglo XVII, Madrid, Marcial Pons, 1996.

Antonio Domínguez Ortiz, La Esclavitud en Castilla en la Edad Moderna y otros estudios de marginados, Grenade, Comares, 2003.

Robert Ricard, La “Conquête spirituelle” du Mexique. Essai sur l'apostolat et les méthodes missionnaires des Ordres mendiants en Nouvelle-Espagne de 1523-24 à 1572, Paris, Institut d'Ethnologie, 1933.

Pierre Vilar, Histoire de l'Espagne, Paris, PUF, [1947] 2009.