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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2023/24 Dr. Javier Francisco

Dr. Javier Francisco

University of Freiburg
Graduate School “Empires”,
affiliated with the Department of History
European empires and socio-ecological transformations

Member of the Young Academy for Sustainability Research
October 2021 - September 2024


Javier Francisco is a historian for European imperial history in the Early Modern Atlantic World, focusing on socio-political and economic-ecological entanglements. Among his research interests are: theory building on imperial longevity, the ecological impact of land use transformations (particularly, plantation and forests), transcultural practices of agriculture and hunting, processes of transfer of knowledge, missionary networks, Indigenous and local agency, as well as conflicts and social transformations.

Additionally, he advocates inter-disciplinary cooperation including joint projects with political scientists, ecologists, mathematicians as well as the GiZ and Fraunhofer Institute. His public outreach activities include a joint YAS publication of a graphic novel on the climate crises and current mass extinction, interviews at Deutschlandfunk and Arte as well as pulic lectures.

His academic career stages include: the University of Tübingen (bachelor’s and master’s degree) and Queensland University in Brisbane (study abroad); the Freie Universität Berlin (PhD) including Columbia University (New York) and Colegio de México (Mexico City) as visiting scholar; the Max-Weber Kolleg in Erfurt, the University of Freiburg (current employment) and Harvard University (Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs). He has conducted archival work in the Americas and Europe i.a. Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Paris, Sevilla, Den Haag and Vatican City.

In his spare time, he likes sports (volleyball, swimming, badminton), jazz music, writing short stories, reading & watching fantasy & science-fiction (Star Trek, Asimov, Dune), cares for animals and nature and enjoys social gatherings.

Full CV available here.

Selected Publications

  • Imperial Methuselah: A New Theoretical Approach on Europe’s Rule in the Americas. (expected: 2024)
  • Die spanisch-amerikanische Jesuitenuniversität in Córdoba, Argentinien. Transatlantische Verflechtungen und gesellschaftliche Verankerung in der Kolonialzeit. wbg Academic, Stuttgart: 2018.
  • “The Two Faces of the Same Coin: Star Trek’s Federation and the Terran Empire,” in: Sturgis, Amy; Strand, Emily (eds.). Star Trek: Essays Exploring the Final Frontier. Vernon Press, Wilmington: 2023.
  • “Conceptual Framework For Biodiversity Assessments in Global Value Chains,” in: Sustainability, vol. 11/7: 2019. With: Stephanie Maier (Fraunhofer Institut), Jan P. Lindner (Bochum University of Applied Sciences). [open-access:].
  • “‘Para convertir a los infieles’ – Asymmetries in the Global Circulation of Jesuit Personnel,” in: Schmid Heer, Esther; Klein, Nikolaus et al. (eds.). Transfer, Begegnung, Skandalon? Neue Perspektiven auf die Jesuitenmissionen in Spanisch-Amerika. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart: 2019. Pp. 127–146.
  • “Das jesuitische ‘Trojanische Pferd’ im transandinen Vizekönigreich Peru. Sektorale Kooperation und Wettbewerb,” in: Elvert, Jürgen; Elvert, Martina (eds.). Agenten, Akteure, Abenteurer. Drucker & Humboldt, Berlin: 2018. Pp. 189-198.
  • “Methodological Approach for the Sustainability Assessment of Development Cooperation Projects for Built Innovations Based on the SDGs and Life Cycle Thinking,” in: Sustainability, vol. 8/10: 2016. With: Stephanie Maier (University of Bayreuth), Tabea Beck (University of Stuttgart) et al. [open-access:].


  • Global Debates on Biological and Linguistic Diversity [with Matthias Kranke]
  • YAS Podcast [with YAS members]
  • Graphic Novel on the Environmental Crises [with Lea Breitsprecher, Cristina Espinosa, Matthias Kranke, Sarah May and Ida Wallin]

Other projects & third-party funding

  • Book project “Imperial Methuselah”. Herein, I propose a model to account for the interplay of friction and cooperation which resulted in multiple entry points for European expansion and structural cohesion. This study provides a comparative analysis of eight empires and offers a model through which we can better understand imperial longevity in Early Modern America.
  • Article “Reassessing the Commodity Frontier: Temporal Regimes in Early Colonial North America”. This research focuses on how we can categorize indigenous societal transformations into temporal regimes and thus investigate environmental changes in so-called commodity frontiers in the Eastern Woodlands.