Eraldo Souza dos Santos: Research & CV

Civil Disobedience: A Conceptual History

Research Area 2: Norms & Transgressions

Contact: eraldo.santos(@)

Over the last half-century, civil disobedience has become a key political concept in the United States. The meaning of the phrase, however, has been contested on more than one occasion—from discussions on the radicalism of Occupy Wall Street’s political aims to controversy over the legitimacy of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing and recent debates about the use of the concept by far-right movements. 

My current research project seeks to contribute to such debates by offering the first conceptual history of civil disobedience. By drawing on both published materials and archival sources from Asia, Europe, and the Americas, I analyze the historical development of the phrase from its use in abolitionist circles in the mid-nineteenth century to its circulation in the British Empire and its eventual appropriation by activists, lawyers, and scholars in the 1960s and 1970s. 

My Ph.D. project is the first step toward this broader aim of writing a global intellectual history of civil disobedience. In my dissertation, I reconstruct the historical process by which civil disobedience became a key political concept in the American public debate (1866–1971).



2015– : Ph.D. in Philosophy, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Advisor: Jean-François Kervegan

2013–2015: M.A. in Philosophy (French and German Philosophies in the European Context, ERASMUS Mundus – EuroPhilosophie), Charles University, Bergische Universität Wuppertal and Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

2009–2013: B.A. in Philosophy, University of São Paulo


  • “Variationen über das bilderlose Wesen der Musik: Bilderverbot als Motiv der Musikphilosophie Theodor W. Adornos.” In “Der Schein des Lichts, der ins Gefängnis selber fällt”. Religion, Metaphysik, Kritische Theorie (Ansgar Martins, Grazyna Jurewicz, Dirk Braunstein, eds.). Berlin: Neofelis, 2018.