Affiliated Graduate Faculty

While we encourage our graduate students to work with faculty in many disciplines across the campus, graduate courses and independent studies offered by these affiliated graduate faculty count as Politics courses for purposes of our PhD program requirements. Moreover, affiliated graduate faculty can be considered as Politics members of a QE or thesis committee, excluding the role of chair.

Massimiliano Tomba
  • Title
    • Professor
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • History of Consciousness Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location 1156 High Street 415 Humanities One Santa Cruz, CA 95064; Office #436
  • Mail Stop History Of Consciousness

Summary of Expertise

His work is concerned with Political Philosophy, modern Political Theory, and Critical Theory. He has specialized in German classical philosophy (especially Kant, Hegel, and the Young Hegelians) during his staying in Germany (University of Würzburg, Münich and Hamburg), Marxism, critical theory (especially the first generation of the Frankfurt School), and modern and contemporary political thought. Specifically, he has written on topics including histories and legacies of universalism, human rights, revolutions, and the modern state. Rethinking modernity and modern political concepts has been a recurrent theme in his work. He is also interested in modern and contemporary history and politics, especially within the context of the Europe. He has written on the French Revolution, fascism and historical revisionism, Italian workerism, new social movements and the impact of the last financial crisis on democracies in Europe and the United States, among others. His works has been translated in French, German, English, Portuguese, Spanish, Rumanian, Polish, and Turkish.


Since 2012, he has been acting as co-director of an international project whose aim is to rethink the predominant schemes of interpretation of global society in order to overcome the prevailing Eurocentrism in conceptions of universalism, space and time.

Research Interests

His new project, “Insurgent Universality” is about the plurality of revolutions that intersected in the French Revolution, which he considers from the perspective of the insurgency of the slaves in the Haitian revolution and the insurgencies of women and the poor in France. He makes a case for an alternative tradition of “insurgent universality” that challenges the dominant conception of universalism in several ways. “Insurgent universality” constitutes a different tradition that, on the one side, holds together political experiments, such as the Paris Commune and the first Soviet Constitution, both of which question the statist-juridical conception of citizenship, and on the other side, allows us to think of different pathways of modernization, which bridge Western and non-Western juridical, political and economic conceptions.

Biography, Education and Training

Massimiliano Tomba (Ph.D. in Political Philosophy at the University of Pisa) has taught Political Philosophy at the University of Padova (Italy).

In 2012 he was Visiting Scholar at Columbia University; in 2014-15 Distinguished Visiting Fellow (Advanced Research Collaborative) at The Graduate Center; in 2015-15 Visiting Professor at The New School for Social Research; and in 2016-17 member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.



Selected Publications



  • Krise und Kritik bei Bruno Bauer. Kategorien des Politischen im nachhegelschen Denken, trans. L. Schröder, Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang, 2005
  • La vera politica. Kant e Benjamin: la possibilità della giustizia, Macerata, Quodlibet, 2006
  • Marx’s Temporalities, trans. Sara Farris and Peter Thomas, Leiden, Brill, 2013, 206 pp. (2nd Edition: Chicago, Haymarket Books, 2013)
  • Attraverso la piccolo porta. Quattro studi su Walter Benjamin. Milano, Mimesis, 2017


  • “Historical Temporalities of Capital: An Anti-Historicist Perspective.” Historical Materialism, Vol. 17, Nr. 4 (2009), pp. 44-65
  • "La ‘véritable politique.’ Observations sur justice et politique.” Actuel Marx, n. 47 (2010), pp. 150-64    
  • "Marx as the Historical Materialist. Re-reading The Eighteenth Brumaire.” Historical Materialism, Vol. 21, Nr. 2 (2013), pp. 21-46
  • "Accumulation and Time. Marx's Historiography from the Grundrisse to Capital.” Capital & Class, Vol. 37 Issue 3 (2013), pp. 355-372
  • "Clash of Temporalities: Capital, Democracy, and Squares,” South Atlantic Quarterly, Vol. 113 Issue 2 (2014), pp. 353-366
  • "Marx et les limites du capitalisme: relire le ‘fragment sur les machines’” Période, September 2015 (Co-authored with Riccardo Bellofiore.)     
  • "1793: The Neglected Legacy of Insurgent Universality,” History of the Present. A Journal of Critical History, Vol. 5, n. 2 (2015), pp. 109-136
  • "Storia e modernità. Per una provinciliazzazione del tempo” in Scienza & Politica, Vol. XXVIII, N. 55 (2016), pp. 43-59    
  • "Justice and Divine Violence: Walter Benjamin and the Time of Anticipation”, in Theory & Event, Volume 20, Number 3 (2017), 579-598