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Santiago Zabala

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 a visiting scholarship in 2010 at Johns Hopkins University, I was appointed ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona. Since 2015 I am ICREA Research Professor at 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." My writing has appeared in The New York Times, Al-Jazeera, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Research interests

My books, articles, and research focus on the meaning of art, politics, and freedom in the twenty-first century where, as I claim, “the greatest emergency has become the absence of emergency.” The goal of philosophy is to thrust us into these absent emergencies (such as climate change or economic inequality) in order to disrupt the ongoing “return to order” that surveillance capitalism and right-wing populism are imposing upon us. These problems are discussed in my most recent book—Being at Large: Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020) —and in many articles. This year Altamarea Editores and Bollati Boringhieri Editore translated this book into Spanish and Italian.

Selected publications

Santiago ZabalaSin ataduras. La Libertad en la era de los hechos alternativos. Foreword by Cesar Rendueles. Spanish translation by Belén Nasini Jasiner and Leonardo Hernán Goldfarb. Madrid: Altamarea, 2021.

Santiago Zabala, Essere Dispersi. La libertà nell’epoca dei fatti alternativi, Italian translation by Benedetta Antonielli d’Oulx. Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 2021

– Santiago Zabala and Michael Lewis, edited “Commemorating Gianni Vattimo’s The Transparent Society,” Special Issue of Journal of Italian Philosophy, Volume 4, 2021. With contributions from Gianni Vattimo, Christine Ross, Daniela Angelucci, Silvia Mazzini, Federico Vercellone, Jaume Casals, Daniel Innerarity, and S. Zabala.

– Jennifer Grubbs, Ecoliberation. Reimagining Resistance and the Green Scare. Series Editor: Santiago Zabala, McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Selected research activities

In the Spring I was invited at the Complutense University of Madrid to give a talk on populism in the 21st century and in the Fall to the Biennale “Manifesta 14” and to the “Eco Summer School” of the University of Turin to discuss my aesthetic and emergency theories. In November “Brand Week Istanbul” invited me to present my philosophy to their annual festival. Also in the fall I organized with Prof. Isabel Valverde a 2 day conference at the UPF titled “Understanding Our Climate Emergency through Art and Aesthetics” with participants from the USA and Italy. This confenrece was part of the “Center of Gianni Vattimo Philosophy and Archives” activities I direct. Finally, this year two books were released in the Book Series I co-edit for McGill-Queen’s University Press.

ICREA Memoir 2021