Professor of History
Proof that polymaths not only exist but thrive at NSSR, Federico Finchelstein investigates the relationship between history and political theory, specializing in fascism, the Holocaust, genocide, Cold War dictatorships, and human rights violations. A member of a history department steeped in the interdisciplinary tradition, Finchelstein enriches and enhances his own work by collaborating with colleagues in political science, sociology, and philosophy. He now examines the dimensions of 20th- century political ideology and practice, from fascism to populism, focusing on Argentina. Finchelstein recently published the Spanish-language book El mito del fascismo: De Freud a Borges, which analyzes the antifascist thinking of Sigmund Freud and the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Finchelstein is now working on a significantly enlarged version, with two more chapters on myth, fascism, and history, to be published in English. He is also working on a new book, From Fascism to Populism in History.
Finchelstein’s extensive historical scholarship does not prevent him from turning his eye and his pen to present-day political concerns. One of the many NSSR professors who can be regarded as public intellectuals, Finchelstein often writes op-ed articles for national publications, including the New York Times and the Washington Post as well as international ones including major Argentine, Brazilian, and French newspapers. His recent opinion pieces have focused on authoritarianism, populism, and the candidacy of Donald Trump. Finchelstein encourages this kind of public engagement in his students and teaches a course in which writing op-eds is a requirement.
Students who come to study with Finchelstein can expect individualized attention and guidance. He prides himself on providing an intellectual environment in which students can investigate issues of interest to them in terms of their connections with both the academy and the public sphere. He co-edits books with students to help them advance their own research and establish their individual voices. In addition, Finchelstein’s interactions and collaborations with other Historical Studies faculty—including Julia Ott, a prominent intellectual specializing in the history of capitalism; Eli Zaretsky, a world-renowned historian of psychoanalysis; and Jeremy Varon, a scholar of political ideologies and the role of political violence—broaden his perspective, enabling him to give students a multifaceted historical education they would not receive elsewhere.