Emma Planinc


Emma Planinc is an historian of political thought, with research interests in early modern and Enlightenment thought and contemporary political theory. Emma received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto in 2017.  She also holds an MA in Political Science from McGill University (2011), and began her studies at the University of Toronto in Philosophy and Literary Studies (2009). While at the University of Toronto, Emma was a fellow of the Northrop Frye Centre, and a Graduate Associate of the Centre for Ethics.  Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Political Theory, The Review of Politics, and the Canadian Journal of Political Science.

Her current book project, Regenerating Political Animals: Natural Science, Natural Philosophy, and Human Rights, 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. The project 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. Continuing the study of what it means to be human—and the examination of the interaction of theology, natural science, and political thought— Emma’s next book-length project (tentatively titled Homo Satyrus) will examine the invocation of the mythic satyr in discussions of the “human animal” in the early modern and Enlightenment periods.



Collegiate Assistant Professor and Harper-Schmidt Fellow

University of Chicago