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. The meaning of the phrase, however, has been repeatedly contested, from discussions on the radicalism of Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter to controversy over the legitimacy of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing and debates on the use of the phrase by far-right movements. 

My current research project seeks to intervene in such debates by offering the first conceptual history of civil disobedience. By consulting published materials and archival sources from four continents, I analyze the historical development of the phrase from its use in American abolitionist circles in the mid-19th century to its circulation in the British Empire and its eventual appropriation by American activists, lawyers, and scholars in the 1960s and 1970s. 

My dissertation is the first step toward this broader aim of writing a global history of civil disobedience. It focuses on the historical process by which civil disobedience has become a key political concept in the American public debate (1935-1975).



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.