Santiago Zabala

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


I was raised in Rome, Vienna, and Geneva and studied philosophy at the University of Turin and at the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome, where I obtained my PhD in 2006. The following year I was awarded the Humboldt Research Fellowship at the University of Potsdam for two years. After spending the spring semester of 2010 as a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University, I was appointed ICREA Research Professor first at the University of Barcelona and then at the Pompeu Fabra University, where I currently teach contemporary and political philosophy and supervise PhD students. I am also the founding director of the UPF Center for Vattimo’s Archives and Philosophy. In addition to an extensive speaking schedule at conferences, seminars, and art festivals, I often write for the New York Times, the Guardian, Al-Jazeera, and other newspapers.

Research interests

My research focuses in three areas each of which has generated several authored and edited books and journals special issues. These areas are political, social, and aesthetic Continental philosophy. I study each of these following the hermeneutic principle according to which Being is not an objective entity that philosophy must describe but rather the effect of interpretations. Following the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Gianni Vattimo, and Richard Rorty, I emphasize the ontological and political nature of hermeneutics in order to demonstrate the danger of dogmatic beliefs for religious and political practices. The problems of education and emergency have been at the center of my research these past years in relation to politics, society, and art. My next books and essays will explore “fake news” and “post-truth” in this so-called age of alternative facts to argue, as Bruno Latour said, that “facts remain robust only when they are supported by a common culture, by institutions that can be trusted, by a more or less decent public life, by more or less reliable media.”

Selected publications

Zabala S & Vattimo G 2018, ‘Non siamo comunisti, siamo comunisti ermeneutici‘, translated by Pegoraro L, in Materialismo Storico, Nº1, 348-353.

– Vattimo G 2018, ‘Essere e dintorni’, edited by Iannantuono G, Martinengo A & Zabala S (Milan: La Nave di Teseo).

Zabala S 2018, ‘L’Anarchia dell’Ermeneutica’ translated by Agnese Fortuna, in Ermeneutica, Cristianesimo Politica, edited by P. Nouzille and S. Rindone (Roma, Aracne): pp 199-214.

Zabala S 2018, Series Editor: ‘La Belleza Multiple‘ by Alvarez L & López Farjeat LX (Bellaterra).

Selected research activities

Research Group: As the founding director of the UPF Center for Vattimo’s Archives and Philosophy my responsibility is to promote researchers, translators, and scholars interested in Gianni Vattimo’s philosophy as well as in Italian philosophy. The impact of the group is evident not only in the publications that have emerged from the group’s activities but also in the various articles written on these activities over past two years in the Los Angeles Review of BooksEl País, and La Stampa.

Series Editor: I am the coeditor, along with Adrian Parr, of a new book series for McGill-Queen’s University Press titled Outspoken, which will release two volumes a year starting in 2019. I also continue to edit for the Spanish publisher Bellaterra Publishers the series Political Philosophy, which has released so far a total of eleven titles since 2010.

Media Outreach: My opinion articles in media outlets and journals such as the Guardian, the New York TimesLa StampaEl PaísAl-Jazeera, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Aeon, La Maleta de Portbou are meant not only to communicate my philosophical findings to a wider audience but also to stir political and cultural debates. This activity also takes place through my collaboration with cultural centers, such as Escola Europea d’Humanitats and the CCCB, where I participate in seminars and recommend guest speakers.