Santiago Zabala

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)


Santiago Zabala was raised in Rome, Vienna, and Geneva. He first studied philosophy at the University of Turin where in 2002 he obtained his MA and in 2006 his PhD (summa cum laude) from the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome. In November 2007 he was awarded the Humboldt Research Fellowship by Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for the years 2008/2009. After spending the spring semester of 2010 as a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University, Zabala was appointed ICREA Research Professor. First he worked at the University of Barcelona and, as of 2015, at the Pompeu Fabra University, where he currently teaches contemporary and political philosophy and supervises MA and PhD theses. He is also visiting professor at Renmin University, the IDSVA and several other international institutions. He is editor of three series and author of numerous authored and edited books and opinion articles for The Guardian, New York Times, and Al-Jazeera.

Research interests

Zabala’s research concentrates in three areas each of which have generated several authored and edited books: ontology, political philosophy, and aesthetics. All these three areas are studied following the hermeneutic principle according to which truth is not an objective goal that philosophy must submit to, but rather the effect of the conflict of interpretations. Following the work of Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Gianni Vattimo Zabala has emphasized the ontological nature of hermeneutics in order to demonstrate the danger of truth impositions for religious and political emancipation. His next books and articles will be on political ontology and aesthetics.

Selected publications

– Gamper D 2016, Laicidad Europea, Bellaterra editores, Zabala S (ed.), Barcellona.

Zabala S 2016, ‘The Anarchy of Hermeneutics: Interpretation as a Vital Practice’ in Inheriting Gadamer: New Directions in Philosophical Hermeneutics, ed. Warnke G, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016: 67-77.

Zabala S 2016, ‘Fé Fraca comom gerir a diversidade religiosa sem divergencias’ in Religiao Olhares edited by Brandão Calvani CE, Cunha Bezerra C & Gonçalves dos Santos JM- EDITORA CRV Curitiba – Brasil 2016: 197-204.

Selected research activities

In 2016 Zabala has brought to the UPF the personal archives of renown Italian philosopher and politician Gianni Vattimo.The inauguration took place on June 6 at the auditorium of the Ciutadella Campus of Pompeu Fabra University with the participation of the Rector Jaume Casals as well as representatives of the Generalitat. In order to promote the archives the “UPF Center for Vattimo’s Philosophy and Archives” is established under the direction of Zabala.


– “Series: el cine del siglo XXI” edited by Zabala S. Dossier for La Maleta with contributions from Woessner A, Garin M,  Benavente F, Salvado G, Jaramillo DL. No. 15, January-February, 2016): 32-54.

– “Mundos Imposibles y sensaciones” in La Maleta 15 (January-February 2016): 33.

– “Weakening Philosophy: A Forum on Gianni Vattimo” in The Los Angeles Review of Books, 10th November, 2016.

– “How to Think through Cages” in Public Sphere, 3rd November, 2016.

– “We should all be allowed to vote on November 8” in Al-Jazeera English, 3rd November, 2016.

– “Opinion is starkly different from blind violence” in Al-Jazeera English, 20th July, 2016.

– “Don’t be afraid of Populism” in Al-Jazeera English, 18th June, 2016.

– “A Philosophical Approach to the Refugee Crisis” in Al-Jazeera English, 19th May, 2016.

– “Art for the TROIKA” in Public Sphere, 27th April, 2016.

– “The Winners and Losers in Spain’s Political Deadlock” in Al-Jazeera English, 3rd March, 2016.