Antonini, Francesca

Core Areas

Intellectual History; History of Political Thought; Nineteenth/Twentieth-century European History; History of Philosophy; Political Theory.

Current Research

The ‘twin’ concepts of Bonapartism and Caesarism describe, roughly speaking, an autocratic system of government in which the figure of the leader towers. First elaborated in nineteenth-century France, they had a great success among intellectuals from diverse backgrounds and were employed to analyse a variety of historico-political situations. In my postdoctoral research project I plan to analyse in a comparative perspective the reception of the caesarist-bonapartist model in European political thought in the first half of twentieth century, with a special focus on the interwar period. This study will reveal the existence of a truly transnational ‘narrative’, whose analysis will shed a new light on the development of political thinking in Europe. Moreover I will investigate the legacy of these categories in the second half of the century and explore their relevance for contemporary political challenges. This analysis could  illuminate the actual dynamics of hegemony, as far as the concepts of Caesarism and Bonapartism provide an intriguing historical perspective on the current debate on populism, of which they are somehow the ‘forerunners’.


I received my PhD from the University of Pavia (Italy) in 2015 with a dissertation on the categories of Caesarism and Bonapartism in Antonio Gramsci’s thought. Before joining the Lichtenberg-Kolleg I held a postdoctoral research Fellowship at the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi in Turin (2017-2018) and I was Postdoctoral Researcher at the Université de Lyon/École Normale Supérieure in Lyon (LabEx CoMod – UMR 5206 Triangle; 2018-2019). From 2016 to presentI also collaborate with the Fondazione Gramsci in Rome, working on the new critical edition of Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks.

Recent Publications


  • F. Antonini, Caesarism and Bonapartism: Hegemony and Modernity in Gramsci’s Thought, Brill, Leiden-Boston [in press].
  • F. Antonini et al. (edited by), Revisiting Gramsci’s Laboratory: History, philosophy and politics in the “Prison Notebooks”, Brill, Leiden-Boston [in press].
  • F. Antonini, ‘Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will: Gramsci’s Political Thought in the Last Miscellaneous Notebooks’,Rethinking Marxism, 31 (1), 2019, pp. 42-57.
  • F. Antonini, ‘Gramsci, il materialismo storico e l’antologia russa del 1924’, Studi Storici, 59 (2), 2018, pp. 403-435.