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Sean Messarra

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Contact Information

Email    smessarra@ucla.edu
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I study the intellectual history of early modern Europe and the wider history of European political thought. I am particularly interested in the concept of representation, its uses in political philosophy from classical antiquity to the eighteenth century, as well as its import on broader questions about liberty, the state, sovereignty, and international law. The main avenue through which I explore these issues is the discourse of early modern scholasticism; my work in this area has appeared in the History of European Ideas.

As a Teaching Fellow in the UCLA Cluster Program, I have designed and instructed seminars on theories of political representation from the Roman republic to the Weimar republic, and on cosmopolitanism and laws of hospitality from ancient Greece to the Enlightenment. Besides these theoretical concerns, I am additionally interested in the cultural, intellectual, and political aspects of the early modern Spanish world.

Twitter Account: @SeanMessarra

Field of Study



Intellectual history; history of political thought; Spain and Latin America


"Representation and scholastic political thought," History of European Ideas 46, no. 6 (2020): 737-753.

Grants and Awards

Conference Presentations

“The Spanish monarchy and its American kingdoms.” Paper presented at the first UCLA
International Institute Graduate Student Conference, University of California, Los Angeles, May 16, 2014

“Neglecting the Conquest: The Absence of Sixteenth-Century Spanish and
Spanish-American Artwork of the Conquest of Mexico.” Paper presented at the eighth annual UCR Graduate Student Conference, Representations of Violence in Cultural Production, University of California, Riverside, April 24, 2014

“Representation in the Spanish Empire of the Sixteenth Century.” Paper presented at the
Latin American Studies Section of the annual Western Social Science Association Conference, Hyatt Regency Downtown – Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 5, 2014

“America’s Place in the Western Tradition.” Paper presented at the annual Latin
American Studies Student Association Conference on Latin America, University of Texas at Austin, February 28, 2014

“Foreign Travelers’ Accounts in Historical Practice.” Paper presented at the annual
Southern California Regional Conferences for Undergraduate Research, California State University – Channel Islands, November 17, 2012


Peter Stacey (chair), Andrea Moudarres, Anthony Pagden, Stefania Tutino 


M.A. History, UCLA, 2018

M.A. Latin American Studies, UCLA, 2015

B.A. History, UCLA, 2013