Crisis, Otherness and Representation

Xavier Ortells-Nicolau

With a dual background (BA in English Studies and East Asian Studies), Xavier started his research at Columbia University’s Weatherhead Institute, as a La Caixa fellow, with an MA in Regional Studies-East Asia. He later obtained a PhD in Translation and Intercultural Studies at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and has conducted research stays in SOAS, Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile and National Taiwan University, in addition to teaching extensively in different Spanish universities.

His most significant research outcomes includes a research on Chinese experimental photography in relation to urbanization. Xavier has also uncovered and documented the photographic work of Juan Mencarini, a Spanish employee of the Chinese Imperial Customs at the turn of the 20th century, and vindicated him as a key actor in the development of photography in East Asia. In addition to his publications on the topic, he has curated the exhibition “The Frandon Albums: Photographs of Juan Mencarini in 1890s Fuzhou”. As a member of ALTER, he has collaborated in the archival research and cataloguing for the “Archivo China-España” (, an open-access digital repository of historical documents and images, which has become a major source for the study of Sino-Spanish historical and cultural relationships.

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