Gérard Raulet
IFK_Senior Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2018 bis 31. January 2019

Gérard Raulet


The Confined Future of the Intellectuals. Benjamin on the French intelligentsia


During his stay on Ibiza in 1934, Walter Benjamin wrote an essay entitled “On the Social Situs of the French Intellectuals Today”. In this essay–after the important essay on the surrealism in 1929, “The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia”–he tried to sum up his reflections on French intellectual life, and to draw conclusions on the role of the educated classes in the context of the impending catastrophe.

This research project focuses on the astonishing heterogeneity of the intellectual personalities Benjamin considers important and representative, despite of the fact that some of them belong to the political right. Obviously, Benjamin’s political criteria are more intricate than the massive left-right opposition and the Marxism he adhered to at the end of the twenties.

Walter Benjamin’s numerous statements on French literature and on the French intelligentsia must be interpreted as a complex of identifications and differentiations through which he tries to clarify his own conception of commitment. Sometimes, these are very adventurous as in the case regarding the “College of Sociology” of Roger Caillois and Georges Bataille, the evolution of some talking heads of the surrealism, and the challenge of determining an adequate antifascist strategy.


Ph. D. in Philosophy at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne (1982), “Habilitation” at the University of Paris Sorbonne (1985),Professor of History of Ideas at the University of Paris-Sorbonne since 2003. Director of the Research Centre Philosophie politique contemporaine at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (1999/2003), Research Program Director at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris (1982/1999 and since 2003), Editor of the series Philia (Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme), Schriftenreihe zur politischen Kultur der Weimarer Republik (Peter Lang), Philosophische Anthropologie (Bautz). Member of the advisory board of The Germanic Review (Columbia University, New York), Athenäum (Schöningh), Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie. Con-textos Kantianos. International Journal of Philosophy (con-textoskantianos.com), Kulturwissenschaftliche Zeitschrift. Publications on the Enlightenment, contemporary political philosophy and critical theory.


„Mimesis. Über anthropologische Motive bei Walter Benjamin – Ansätze zu einer anthropologischen kritischen Theorie“, in: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, 64/4 (2016), S. 581 – 602; gem. mit Sarah Schmidt (Hg.), Wissen in Bewegung. Theoriebildung unter dem Fokus von Entgrenzung und Grenzziehung, Berlin 2014; gem. mit Guillaume Plas (Hg.), Philosophische Anthropologie nach 1945. Rezeption und Fortwirkung, Nordhausen 2014; gem. mit Guillaume Plas und Manfred Gangl (Hg.), Philosophische Anthropologie und Politik, Nordhausen 2013; Republikanische Legitimität und politische Philosophie heute, Münster 2012.

  • Lecture
Gérard Raulet

Marginalität, Außenseitertum: Jene besondere gesellschaftliche Situation, die dem Juden, dem Homosexuellen oder auch dem Konvertiten gemeinsam ist, kennzeichnet viele der Autoren, mit welchen Benjamin sich befasst hat – z. B. Proust, Jouhandeau oder Green.