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Are Men Free to Hate or Free to Love? A Restatement of Machiavelli’s View on Emotions

Nicole Hochner 140x140


Guest presenter:
Dr Nicole Hochner  (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Paper Title:
Are Men Free to Hate or Free to Love? A Restatement of Machiavelli's View on Emotions

Event Information:
Dr Hochner is currently an Early Career Visiting Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Perth node.  This presentation, at the Medieval and Early Modern Centre at the University of Sydney, is part of her visting fellowship program. 

Time and Date:
5.00pm on Wednesday 15th August

Woolley Common Room, The University of Sydney

Further inquiries:
Further inquiries:
Dr Juanita Feros Ruys
Director of the Medieval and Early Modern Centre (University of Sydney)
Director of the Sydney node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (Europe 1100 - 1800)

Paper Abstract:
Machiavelli's political theory is still often mistakenly seen in textbooks as the first modern empirical theory promoting an a-ethical and pragmatic vision of human affairs. This so-called realpolitik is completely alien to Machiavelli who on the contrary scrutinizes politics from the point of view of emotions and virtues. Emotions, I will argue, are a central political prism for Machiavelli's theory since domination is a matter of manufacturing and stirring up emotions. Fear, ferocity, hate, cupidity are central features in Machiavellian anthropological analysis, but I shall show that love is no less fundamental to the Machiavellian political dynamic. Despite the fact that in the Prince Machiavelli claims that it is better to be fearedthan loved, the ability to love (love of fatherland but also the critical love of liberty) is an indispensable civil disposition to build and stabilize a regime that promotes social virtues proper to good citizenship. This reading raises important questions relative to Machiavelli's understanding of emotions, to Machiavelli's theological thought and the place of justice and freedom and their relations to love within Machiavelli's political philosophy.

Nichole Hochner Biography:
Nicole Hochner is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Head of the Program in Cultural Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research focuses on early modern France, and more specifically on the years 1480-1520.
Her publications include Louis XII: Les dérèglements de l'image royale (Seyssel, Paris 2006) and a co-edited volume with Thomas Gaehtgens L'Image du roi de Francois Ier à Louis XIV (Paris, 2006).
Her many articles have covered topics such as the emblem of the porcupine, the figuration of the biblical Esther, the notion of propaganda, the display of tears in official pageants, and the political thought of political thinkers such as Guillaume Budé, Pierre Gringore, Claude de Seyssel and Niccolò Machiavelli.
Her current projects include a study of social mobility in early modern France, which emphasizes the 'birth' of the word emotion and the importance of the medical gaze; a project on Machiavelli and love; and a political reading of Pierre Gringore's works which focuses on satire.