Monica Libell

Visiting Scholar

Faculty Member, History of Science and Ideas
Lund University, Sweden
CSTMS Research Unit: Office for the History of Science and Technology
Affiliation period: June 2007 - June 2014
Degrees PhD :: PhD work in the field of History of science and ideas was completed in various places and archives in Germany, in Lund Sweden and three years at UCB . (1998-2001)

Research Areas

History of Concepts, Intellectual History, Animal Studies


Monica has been a visiting scholar at UCB since 2007. She was tenured at Lund University in 2005 and has since worked as teacher, researcher, Director of Studies and as Department Chair.  She has written extensively on animal ethics. She has also written on the history of medicine and bioethics and the concept of anthropomorphism. She is currently working on the ontology of man and counter-man in the 18th century scientific and political debate (see below):


The Barbarian Phantasm. Dehumanization in the shaping of the eighteenth-century image of man.

Project description:

During the second half of the 18th century, political and scientific ideas of man emerged that described what man was, could be and could not be. These ideas were translated into political and scientific treatises, such as the French Declaration of rights and Linnaeus concept Homo sapiens. While both of these treatises appeal to a conceptual unity of mankind, in reality many humans were excluded. The French declaration of rights left for instance women and children disenfranchised. The following study purports to understand these exclusions. Informed by a posthumanist perspective, while structuring self and other along a ‘social grammar,’ it will investigate representations of otherness in scientific and political theories of man, mainly in France, Germany and Sweden.

As the Enlightenment has shaped the foundation of modern Western society, ideas of human rights and concepts such as Homo sapiens have kept their relevance. Whereas gender and ethnic studies have given ample attention to historical oppression, a conceptual and ontological exploration of man and counter-man has never been undertaken. By delving into the philsophico-political context in which difference becomes a prescription for exclusion, the study intends to shed light on the rationale behind ideas of inclusion and exclusion in the making of the 18th century theories of man and offer new perspectives as to how strategies of demarcation have been created to coerce, marginalize and dehumanize human beings.

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last updated: June 29th, 2020