Photo of Sophie Marcotte Chénard

Sophie Marcotte Chénard

Contemporary political and social philosophy, 19th and 20th-century German thought, French democratic theory, Weimar thought, philosophy of history and interpretative approaches to the history of political ideas

Degrees:BA, MA (U Ottawa); Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2577

Assistant Professor

Sophie Marcotte Chénard’s primary research interests lie in modern and contemporary political philosophy, 19th and 20th-century German thought, philosophy of history, French democratic theory, as well as interpretive approaches to the study of political ideas. She received a BA in Political Science and Philosophy and an MA in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa, before completing her PhD in Political Philosophy at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris in 2016. She was also a Visiting Doctoral Fellow at the Committee on Social Thought (University of Chicago, 2013) and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Political Theory at the University of Toronto.

Her forthcoming book History in Crisis: Political Philosophy and Historicism in the Interwar Period, reconsiders the crisis of historicism as a moral and political challenge for political philosophy. Looking at different thinkers  (Strauss, Löwith, Aron, Arendt), she argues that the crisis of historicism during the interwar period in France and in Germany involves more than the threat of historical relativism and paves the way to a renewed reflection on the nature and limits of political judgment.

She was recently awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant for a project that investigates the evolution, uses and performative effects of the concept of crisis in contemporary political discourse. Drawing from the Begriffsgeschichte approach first developed by Reinhart Koselleck, she analyzes how the contested concept of crisis has become a central notion used as a tool or weapon in political discourse. She has published articles and chapters on continental political philosophy (Leo Strauss, Raymond Aron, Karl Löwith, Reinhart Koselleck), contemporary interpretations of Machiavelli (Claude Lefort, Quentin Skinner), theory of history (Collingwood, White) as well as interpretive approaches to the history of political thought.

Current Graduate Supervisions

Kayla Dold (MA): “A Story Worth Remembering: Literature’s Role in Simone de Beauvoir’s Philosophy”

Desirrea Meney (MA): “The Re-articulation of Conflict and Dissent:  A Collaborative Approach to Agonistic Pluralism”

Amanda Roberts (PhD): Love, Law, and the Philosopher Queen:  The Role of Women in Plato’s Political Philosophy”

Selected Publications

Devant l’Histoire en crise: Raymond Aron et Leo Strauss (University of Montreal Press (PUM), Coll. Pensée allemande et contemporaine, 2021) (Forthcoming, August 2021)

Raymond Aron, libéral malgré lui“, La Vie des Idées, February 2020

Review: H-Diplo Roundtable XXI-54 on I. Stewart. Raymond Aron and Liberal Thought in the Twentieth Century

What Can We Learn from Political History? Leo Strauss and Raymond Aron, Readers of Thucydides”, The Review of Politics, Vol. 80, No. 1 (2018), 57-86.

Is Collingwood a Historicist? Remarks on Leo Strauss’s Critique of Collingwood’s Philosophy of History”, Journal of the Philosophy of History, Vol. 11, No. 3 (2017), 324-341.

A Practical Past Beyond the Historical Past?”, Book Forum, Journal of History of Ideas Blog, April 2017.

Qu’est-ce qu’une oeuvre de pensée? Réflexions sur l’art de lire lefortien”(What is a ‘Work of Thought’? Remarks on Claude Lefort’s Art of Reading), Politique & Sociétés, Vol. 34, No. 1 (2015), 149-171.

Le contextualisme de Quentin Skinner à l’épreuve du cas Machiavel” (Quentin Skinner’s Contextualism and the Machiavelli Case), Methodos. Savoirs et textes, No. 13 “ Pratiques de l’interprétation”, (2013), 2-23.