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.