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Jerónimo Rilla

About myself

I'm a historian of political thought currently working at the Centre Raymond Aron of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in the framework of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellowship. I obtained my doctorate in 2018 at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a thesis entitled "Leviathan as Prosopopoeia: towards a new theory of conflict in Hobbes".

Before coming to Paris, I worked as a lecturer at the Philosophy Department of the University of Buenos Aires. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate enough to receive funding from the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET) and the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate Programme of the University of Cologne, Germany.

My articles have been published in several academic journals, including History of Political Thought, The Review of Politics, Intellectual History Review, History of European Ideas, IsegoríaIdeas y ValoresLas Torres de Lucca, and Anales de Historia de la Filosofía.

Leviathan as a green monster

My current project

Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic

My current research focuses on personifications of the modern state. Personifications are powerful and fascinating devices that allow us to represent abstract notions in a concrete form, as characters in a narrative. They can help to consolidate notions of order and national identities. One notable example is English philosopher Thomas Hobbes' concept of the Leviathan, introduced in 1651, which continues to resonate today. The Leviathan represents the state as a mighty colossus composed of countless individuals, the people. Likewise, in 1792, the French Republic adopted Marianne, a personification of Liberty, as a symbol of its new and emancipating political organization. Personifications are not only powerful in conveying positive notions, but they also serve to convey negative ones. In early modern European thought, native America was often depicted as the antithesis of the state, personifying disorder and barbarism. However, in the 19th century, Latin American intellectuals began challenging this opposition by creating alternative representations of effective political orders. In my research, I explore how Domingo Sarmiento, a 19th-century Argentine thinker, utilized the figure of Facundo, a local caudillo, to personify the exceptional nature of the Argentine state. Through my research, I aim to provide a critical examination of how state power is constructed and justified. Additionally, I highlight the fact that our understanding of what constitutes order or disorder is always grounded in contested assumptions.

Real-world politics

Political ideas are not ethereal entities, but inform the way we intervene in the world. I'm also interested in the intersection between political thought and practical politics. Alongside my academic pursuits, I had the opportunity to work as a speechwriter for the communications office of the Chief of the Ministerial Cabinet of the Argentinian Government (2020-2022). There, I had my dose of real-world politics and did my best to translate abstract concepts into actionable language.

The funeral of Eva Perón, the spiritual leader of the Argentine people

Personal note

The Argentine Leviathan. Diego Maradona embodying a multitude

The photo credit belongs to @sincopaeditora

Outside politics, I've a much simpler passion: football. Since I'm half Uruguayan, half Argentinian, my loyalties are somewhat eclectic. My childhood (and adulthood) idols are Álvaro Recoba and Diego Maradona. But, above all, my heart belongs to the three-time world champion Club Nacional de Football. Worringly, though, the last championship coincides with my birth year. So, if Thomas Hobbes's twin brother was fear, as he stated in his autobiography, mine would be defeat. As you see, everything seems to circle back to Hobbes.

Alvaro Alexander Recoba Rivero.jpg


2 Cours des Humanités 93300, Aubervilliers

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