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Emma Planinc: The Hieroglyphic Man

Date and Time: 
Thursday, March 11, 2021. 12:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Zoom
Workshop: 
History of Political Thought 2020
Meeting Description: 

Emma Planinc will speak on Rousseau’s persuasive image for political transformation. She is an historian of political thought, with research interests in early modern and Enlightenment political philosophy, and contemporary political theory. Her current monograph, The Rights of Human Animals: Revolutionary Science and the Politics of Regeneration, addresses the “regenerative” theological-natural science of the eighteenth century in France, and the philosophes’ preoccupation with distinguishing the human being from the rest of the animal kingdom. It focuses on the natural scientists Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon and Charles Bonnet, and on the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Culminating in an account of the regenerative thrust of French Revolutionary rhetoric, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, this project in the history of political thought is activated to illuminate the regenerative impulse that the contemporary human rights regime shares with the eighteenth century.

Before joining the Program in Literary Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Planinc was a Harper-Schmidt fellow at the University of Chicago teaching Classics of Social and Political Thought. Her research has also been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada. Planinc’s work has appeared in the History of European IdeasPolitical TheoryThe Review of Politics, and the Canadian Journal of Political Science. She has current work in progress on Rousseau’s Essay on the Origin of Languages, and on the contemporary relevance of regenerative rhetoric in thinking about bipartisan politics and human rights. Her next monograph will examine the invocation of the mythic satyr in discussions of the “human animal” in the early modern and Enlightenment periods, and will further explore the intertwining of natural science, philosophy, and theology in discussions of what it means to be a political human being.

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