Olivier Remaud
ifk Senior Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2011 bis 31. January 2012

Interrupted Cosmopolitanism. The Dissemination of the German Pre-World War I Concept of Culture between “West” and “East”


What do we gain by considering the failure of European cosmopolitanism from a non-European perspective? In this research project I investigate the hypothesis of a wide circulation of the German polemical concept of culture beyond the limits of Western narrative of cosmopolitanism including Eastern approaches. I focus both on Russian and Indian reformulations of the Kultur-Zivilisation dichotomy from 19th-Century Slavophile milieu to 1920s and 1930s anti-colonial nationalists. I thereby set out to reassess the Eastern discussion of occidentalism in the context of European anxieties in between the wars. I’m also seeking to show how national discourses of interrupted cosmopolitanism and transnational exchanges of ideas can be interconnected in troubled times. There is a tension – normative dimension of cosmopolitanism vs. its rejection by history – that tells us a lot about historical consciousness.


Olivier Remaud holds a chair in modernity at the EHESS in Paris where he has served as Director of the Centre de Recherches Politiques Raymond-Aron. He has been awarded various international fellowships. He has also been a visiting professor or scholar at the University of Chicago, New York University, Freie Universität Berlin, University of Bergen, Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. His current research is in the fields of social philosophy and political thought with a particular focus on cosmopolitanism and theories of culture.


(among others): Si loin, si proche. Essai sur le point de vue cosmopolitique, Paris 2012 (forthcoming); At Home or Away? The Emotional Geography of Exile, in: H. Jordheim (ed.), Conceptualizing the World, Oxford 2012 (forthcoming); Cosmopolitanism and the Question of Social Imaginaries, Humanity Journal, 2012 (forthcoming); with J.-F. Schaub, I. Thireau (eds.), Faire des sciences sociales, Comparer (vol.III), Paris 2012 (3 vols.); On Vernacular Cosmopolitanisms, Multiple Modernities and The Task of Comparative Thought, in: M. Freeden (ed.), The Comparative Political Thought, Oxford 2011; with S. Nour (eds.), War and Peace. The Role of Science and Art, Berlin 2010.

28 November 2011
  • Lecture
Olivier Remaud

Occidentalism Reconsidered. The case of Benoy Kumar Sarkar (1887-1949)

Is “Occidentalism” a footnote to theories of “Orientalism”? Is it possible to compare, and, if so, how can “Eastern” images of the “West” be compared to “Western” images of the “East”? Olivier Remaud focuses on important cultural debates.