Nicolas Guilhot

Professor of Intellectual History  GuilhotNicolas



Fields of research

  • European intellectual history

  • Early modern and contemporary political thought

  • History of the social sciences

  • Internationalism and human rights

  • Historiography; history of political concepts

Current Research Projects

 My current research focuses on the idea of conspiracy in European political thought and historiography. From Catiline’s plot against the late republican elite to the immediate background of Machiavelli’s Prince, the idea of conspiracy has long been a central notion of politics, before becoming an illegitimate category confined to “conspiracy theories” in the 20th century. The aim of the project is twofold. First, it seeks to rediscover the importance of a largely forgotten political concept and use it to revisit the history of modern political thought by suggesting that conspiracies provided one the main foils against which the modern state (and the modern state system) developed its self-image and its intellectual disciplines. Secondly, I am interested in the rhetoric of conspiracy. The notion of conspiracy destabilizes clear-cut distinctions between event and representation, fact and fiction, res gestae and historia rerum gestarum that are central to historiography and to the modern human sciences. It forces us to think about the production of truth and falsehood within the broader context of how political institutions represent themselves and their enemies, shape the terms of political legitimacy and produce historical knowledge. More generally, thinking about conspiracies raises broader questions about what counts as “truth” in history.


French, English, Italian, Bulgarian, German

Current seminars at the EUI

Selected Recent Publications

  • “Apocalypse of the Profane: Paranoia and Eschatology in Ernesto De Martino’s La fine del mondo,” under review with the Journal of the History of Ideas
  • “Automatic Leviathan: Cybernetics and Politics in Carl Schmitt’s Postwar Writings,” History of the Human Sciences, forthcoming - 2020
  • "After the Enlightenment: Political Realism and International Relations in the mid-20th Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017)
  • “The French Connection: Jean-Baptiste Duroselle, Raymond Aron et l’essor des relations internationales en France,” Revue Française de Science Politique 67, no. 1 (2017): 43-67
  • “Rational C
  • vhoice as Neo-Decisionism: Decision-Making in Economics and Political Science After 1945” (with Alain Marciano), in Scientific Imperialism: Exploring the Boundaries of Interdisciplinarity, ed. Uskali Mäki, Adrian Walsh, and Manuela Fernández Pinto (London: Routledge, 2017)   
  •  “The ‘First Modern Realist’: Felix Gilbert’s Machiavelli and the Making of the Realist Tradition in International Relations,” Modern Intellectual History 13, no. 3 (2016): 681-711
  • “The Kuhning of Reason : Realism, Rationalism and Political Decision in IR after Thomas Kuhn,” Review of International Studies 42, no. 1 (2016): 3-24
  • “Portrait of the Realist as a Historian : On Anti-Whiggism in the History of International Relations,” European Journal of International Relations 21, no. 1 (2015): 3-26



For appointments please contact the Administrative Assistant: Francesca Parenti


  • Postal address: 
    Department of History and Civilization
    Via Bolognese 156
    50139 Florence - Italy

Office SACA103 at Villa Salviati, Castello

Page last updated on 29 September 2020

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