Life after Death


The mummy of Hunefer, supported by the god Anubis, Hunefer’s wife and daughter mourning, and three priests performing rituals. The two priests with white sashes are carrying out the Opening of the Mouth ritual. The white building at the right is a representation of the tomb.


Among the unpublished papers of Jan Patočka, edited and translated into French by Erica Abrams, there is a short and unfinished piece entitled “Fenomenologie posmrtného zivota”, in French “Phénoménologie de la vie après la mort” (“Phenomenology of life after death”), probably written in the late 1960s. Hans Ruin takes this fragment as his point of departure for a reflection on the phenomenological problem of death, history, and writing in Patočka, Heidegger, and Derrida.

In his ten-page sketch, Patočka raises the question of how we can speak consistently about life after death, without presupposing the existence of some kind of “substantial carrier” and “double” of this life, as “soul” or “spirit”. How can we, as phenomenologists, with our commitment to staying with things themselves in their immediate givenness, speak of something non-existent and non-evidential, without giving in to a “metaphysical fiction”?

The first and preliminary response to this temptation would simply be to say no: This is a territory on which no meaningful discourse can legitimately take place. As phenomenologists, we speak from the viewpoint of the living, of and for the living. The dead are no longer here. They have no presence. They leave no evidence. And yet, Patočka adds, we cannot deny that the dead do not “entirely disappear, for the other continues to live in us […] it is of course only a precarious life, dependent on us, not immortality, but a simple living on that does not last longer than we live”. The life of the dead other is not an independent self-sustaining life, but still it is not nothing. Somehow the other remains in me. So far, he continues, no one has tried to give a phenomenological account of this strange phenomenon of how the dead other continues to live, and thus how, in a certain sense, there is life after death. For this phenomenon of a “life after death” indeed exists, he says, it exists “without any doubt”, sans nul doute. Therefore it also deserves to be the object of phenomenological analysis.

The reason why such an attempt has not been made before, he suggests, is that it provides “so little comfort”. But now is the time to try, using phenomenology as the unique method available for such an enterprise. Through phenomenological analysis, the continued life of the dead shall be made visible in its strange and unique presence. How, then, does Patočka go about approaching this difficult and precarious task? Let me try to recapitulate his argument.

His starting point is intersubjectivity. Human existence does not exist on its own and by itself. We are beings for ourselves, but we are also beings for the other. From the viewpoint of original temporality, we are in a strict sense “totality private”, inaccessible to the other, who reaches us from an “outside”. And yet the image we have of ourselves is mediated through the other. Indeed, it is only the other who can see us, as it were, “objectively”. In this sense, our lives are mediated from the outset, exteriorized and thus in a sense “alienated”. The formulations Patočka uses to express this enigma of the self through the other vacillate. It is both original and deferred with regard to itself. This is also true of the other, whose existence is dependent on me, through the images and representations I have of the other and vice versa. In this sense, we live through each other.
For this reason, we can also say that I continue to live through the other, in a kind of “quasi-life” in the other. When the other is dead, she continues in me, in what from her own viewpoint amounts to “non-existence”, and for me “non-originarity”, and yet somehow as being there. This somehow is the crux of the matter. In what form of being does the other continue to be? As long as the other lives, there is a reciprocity, insofar as we live and exist through each other. With death, this reciprocity is cancelled. The dead do not respond, they do not collaborate, they accomplish nothing at all, il n´effectue rien du tout...

The dead are cut off from all potentiality as seen from their own viewpoint, henceforth they live only as dependent on us. What, then, remains of the departed? Referring explicitly to the memory of his father, Patočka states that all that remains are certain “characteristics” that somehow retain the “essence of a person”, a look, a voice, a gesture, etc. The individual person is gone, and yet in this diluted form he remains in the memory of the son. Patočka even states that those who have been close to a person have the special task of “incorporating the other in some form or other in their lives”. In this phenomenon of incorporation of the dead in and by the living, we come across what Patočka refers to as an ”original conscience of life with the dead”, which guarantees that the non-existence of the other is not just a non-being but also a positive continuation of life.
This formulation of a continuation of the dead among the living through incorporation, suggested in passing rather than systematically explored, marks the speculative peak of the sketch. The rest of the unfinished article contains a discussion of Kojève and the dialectics of desire, and a critical reflection on Jean Paul Sartre and his exaggerated subjectivism. Against Sartre, Patočka states that we reach authenticity not just through ourselves, but also through each other. At the very end of the text, he returns to the experience of death of the other, but now explicitly as a problem of grief and mourning. This, he says, can induce a false consciousness of a continued reciprocity where there in fact is none, a phenomenon he likens with that of “phantom limbs”. In response to the pain of loss, human existence must ultimately regain its sense of reality and continue its life without the full reciprocity of the other.

In her editorial comment, Erica Abrams mentions an unverified “rumour” that the text was composed following the death of Patočka’s wife, which would date it to 1967. Part of the content of the text, especially the criticism of Sartre, would suggest an earlier date. A letter to Walter Biemel, however, indicates that the topic was still on his mind as late as 1976, and that he was planning to write more about it. Whatever is true, it seems clear that his thoughts are at least partly animated by a personal experience of loss. This is suggested by the references to the memory of his father, and his remarks on the need to incorporate and care for the dead other. It is also supported by the final, Freudian-sounding remarks on coming to terms with grief, and the effort not let oneself be carried away by false hopes that could induce the illusory experience of the other. Seen from this perspective, the text could be read as a philosophical work of mourning, a reflexive attempt to come to terms with personal loss and its reverberations in memory, where the dead other is internalized and somehow maintained in and through a truncated reciprocity.

As such, it anticipates Derrida’s thoughts on the workings of memory in relation to the dead, first articulated in his Mémoirs for Paul de Man from 1987, a text was written in response to the loss of his friend. There, he tries to articulate precisely the peculiar and ultimately paradoxical experience of what it means to preserve someone in memory. When we experience painful loss, he writes, we say to ourselves that the departed is not fully departed, but that somehow he or she lives on in our memory. Yet, at the same time, it is clear that memory cannot keep or preserve the other, who is irrevocably gone. Should we, then, regard this wish to preserve the dead other as a narcissistic refusal to recognize inevitable loss? No, he answers: the structure of the relation between subjectivity, memory and the dead other is more complex. The presence of the other in the self is the experience of something that is “greater” than the self, and the possibility of mourning someone is ultimately part of and co-constitutive of what it means to be a self.

”Memory” thus becomes a name for an experience of both the volatility and possibility of the subject. It is precisely in being outside itself, in a continued relation to what is other than itself, that human existence is what it is. From his own experience of the loss of his friend, and from his attempts to reflect in a phenomenological vein on this experience, Derrida comes to a formulation quite similar to that of Patočka some decades earlier. However the point is not to establish intertextual connections or routes of influence. As we know, Derrida read Patočka some years later, as documented in his comments on the Heretical Essays in Donner la Mort from 1994. What is more interesting is to see how both, starting from a reading of Husserl and Heidegger, come to this topic through different trajectories.

By the time of the publication of Spectres of Marx in 1993 it had taken on new proportions in Derrida’s work. Here he recalls how the existential imperative to live also implies an imperative to address death. Learning to live is both learning to exist between life and death, in the existential stretch constituted by one’s own life span, from not yet being born to no longer existing, as well as in relation to those no longer there. In order to describe this situation, this existential in-between, he suggests that we think of it in terms of “the phantom” (le fantôme), a concept he took over from the psychoanalytical work of Nicholas Abraham. Unlike in Patočka’s text, however, the phantomatic is here not just a negative border-concept, as the name of an illusion to be overcome by a rational work of mourning. Instead, it is presented as a positive phenomenological category in its own right, the designation of a mode of being on the threshold or middle-ground between the living and the dead.

According to Derrida, this means that to learn to live would partly amount to learning to live with and among spectres and ghosts, as well as a “politic of memory, of inheritance, and of generations”. It is a politic, but perhaps even more an ethics, since it concerns how we comport ourselves in relation to those who are no longer there. There is a peculiar kind of responsibility for and toward the deceased, which marks and constitutes the living in their self-understanding. Or perhaps we should speak of it as responsiveness, since responsibility might imply that we know what our obligations are. The point here is that there is no certainty in this area. We do not know what we owe the dead, nor what they owe us.

In several of Derrida’s later writings, the “spectral” designates this indeterminate space between the dead and the living. In a footnote to the book on Marx, he even indicates the possibility of what he calls a “phenomenology of spectrality”, that should be carried out “with good Husserlian logic, carving out a limited, relative field within a regional discipline” that would explore systematically the “original experience of visitation”. With this radicalization of the phenomenological enterprise, “the possibility of the other and of mourning” would be written into the very phenomenality of the phenomenon. In the book on Marx, all of this remained a tentative anticipation of something yet to be developed. Husserl is mentioned in the quoted remark and Heidegger is also recalled in passing. As it stands, the book leaves open the question how and to what extent it may be possible to develop the question of the spectral in phenomenological terms.

A few years after Spectres of Marx, Derrida returned to the theme in Apories, a series of mediations on death, partly motivated by a reading of Philippe Ariès monumental anthropological study of the culture of death in the West, L’homme devant la mort (1977). In Apories, Derrida offers an explicit critique of Heidegger and the existential analysis of death, concluding that “the existential analytic wants to have nothing to do with the revenant and with grief”. The remark recalls the critique of Heidegger’s analysis of death developed by Levinas in his last lecture course in the mid-1970s, published in 1993. In these lectures, Levinas criticized Heidegger precisely for subordinating the role and the meaning of the death of the other to the problem of personal finitude.

This short survey shows how both Patočka and Derrida, independently of one another, approach the problem of the dead other as a topic for phenomenological exploration. With Patočka, it remained an unfulfilled promise, a sketch for something to come that he was never permitted to carry out. In Derrida’s later writings, which were increasingly devoted to the intermediate space of the “spectral”, as the problem of survival, also in the form of “spirits” and “ghosts”, it became a central preoccupation. Patočka considered the theme to have been unexplored by previous phenomenologists. And while Derrida, in Apories, paid critical tribute to Heidegger’s analysis of finitude, he followed Levinas’s critique in relation to the specific issue of thinking mortality from the viewpoint of mourning and the spectral, and thus of thinking the afterlife. Despite the partial legitimacy of these criticisms, there are passages in Heidegger’s existential analysis in Sein und Zeit that – implicitly at least – open up a way of thinking about the category of “being-with-the-dead” that can help us situate the concerns of both Patočka and Derrida, more so than they themselves were prepared to admit. It is a reading that moves in two steps, from the problem of the death of the other, to that of history as repetition. It is to this which I now turn.

A basic premise in Sein und Zeit is that human existence tends to represent itself through alienating categories, elicited from types of non-human being. As a consequence of this self-alienating tendency, the constructive attempt to forge a more adequate existential-ontological terminology must run parallel with a “destruction” of the history of metaphysics and inherited modes of designating life. A more genuine or “authentic” grasping of human existentiality requires that Dasein is able to tear itself loose from this tendency to “fall pray” to inherited modes of discourse. Hence, Sein und Zeit, is an attempt to secure a more appropriate terminology for the exploration of the being and movement of life.

Nowhere is this challenge more acute than in the sections that explicitly try to think the nature of finitude and mortality. Having defined the essence of human Dasein in the first part of the book as “being-in-the-world” and as “care”, Heidegger poses the question as to how this presumed totality might be conceptually grasped and articulated. Existence is delimited by birth and death and thus constitutes what appears as a finite stretch of life. In order to really think its totality, however, we cannot simply rest with an understanding of existence as a life-process, delimited by death, as though death were somehow outside life, or simply its outer limit. For death belongs to life, and life is a being-toward-death, permanently open to the possibility of its non-possibility. What could a proper and supposedly authentic conceptual mastery of death amount to?

We think that we know death, simply because we experience it all around us. But what we experience is really the death of the other, not death as our death, or as my death. We should not take the medical, biological and social “fact of death” as our source of knowledge and reflection for understanding mortality. For death, says Heidegger, is ultimately a phenomenon of “Dasein as possibility”. Somehow, death must be grasped and conceptualized as a phenomenon of life, from the viewpoint of the living, as the very “possibility of im-possibility”, in his formulation. In order for the analysis of authentic being-toward-death to be carried through, it needs to address the experience of the dying and dead other as its phenomenal contrast. This happens in chapter forty-seven, the only place in Heidegger’s work that actually does provide a rudimentary phenomenology of the being of the “dead other”, or of the other as dead.

The argument goes as follows: when it has reached its “completion” (its Gänze), the other Dasein becomes a “no-longer-being-in-the-world”. This is the first phenomenal aspect of its being as dead. How should we understand this phenomenon of leaving the world? In one sense, the other is no longer here; but in another sense it is here, though now as the apparent thing of a being no-longer-alive. In the dying of others, Heidegger writes, a “remarkable” phenomenon occurs: the sudden transition or reversal (Umschlag) of Dasein – or, as he adds in a parenthesis, of life – to a “no-longer” Dasein. It is as if the end of Dasein were suddenly the beginning of another type of being or entity, but now in the order of a purely present entity: as corpse. But this conventional description of what takes place at the moment of death does not capture the phenomenal character of the event. More precisely, it fails to capture the sense in which this being, as Heidegger says, “still remains” (nochverbleibende), and as such is not represented by the purely corporeal. It is not just lifeless, leblos, it is “unliving” (unlebendig). As such, it can be the object of multiple concerns, as in funeral rites and cults. The mourners are still with the other, in the mode of a care that is characteristic of being-with others, and not the kind of care we devote to objects. A dead body is not taken care of in the same way that we take care of artefacts. We continue to be with them, in a world that continues to give meaning and significance to our peculiar mode of being with those no longer there, even though they have, as it were, “left that world behind” (zurückgelassen).

These reflections basically sum up what Heidegger has to say concerning the dead other. As already stated, the primary purpose of the analysis is not to provide a separate phenomenology of the “being of” and the “being with” the dead – as in the case of Patočka or Derrida – but rather to serve as a negative contrast to the question of the nature of a supposedly more authentic being-toward-death. Still, the sheer force of its phenomenality leads Heidegger up against the irreducible problem of afterlife or spectral existence. The dead are not only possible objects of concern; they also have a peculiar mode of being, as “still-remaining” and “un-living”.

Heidegger even mentions, if yet in passing, the existentiale of “being-with-the-dead” (Mitsein-mit-dem-Toten) as a subdivision of the general existentiale of “being-with” (Mitsein), for which there is a special form of concern or Sorge, namely that of Fürsorge, caring-for. Thus he recognizes the legitimacy of such a phenomenological category, beyond Levinas’s and Derrida’s negative assessments and Patočka’s disparaging comment on previous phenomenological attempts. But is there also a way to continue this analysis within the horizon of Sein und Zeit? In no other part of the book does he explicitly mention the dead other. In order to retrieve the further implications of this problematic, we need to read between the lines and be prepared to move from the apparent to less apparent.

As a lead to this further exploration, we may initially recall another remark of Patočka, jotted down in passing: in fact, the very last line of his sketch on the afterlife. Here he writes: “L’historiographie comme explication avec les morts” – “historiography as an explication with the dead”, or perhaps even as a way of coming to terms with the dead. This truncated sentence is all we have. But it could be read as a cipher, pointing us in the direction of a theme where the question of the dead other is at the heart of it all; namely the existential ground of history, precisely as a being-with-and-coming-to-terms-with-the-dead. Let me try to explain.

In chapter five of the second part of Sein und Zeit, Heidegger turns to the existential problem of history as a problem of how to understand the stretch or interconnectedness of life, as played out between birth and death. The phenomenological task is to understand the possibility of this dynamic in-between, as an origin and foundation for historical being and awareness – what he refers to as its occurrence or way of happening – its Geschehen – as another word for its “historicity” or Geschichtlichkeit.

How, then, does history happen? How does the historical emerge from within the happening of human Dasein? A specific artefact is historical, he writes, by virtue of its being seen as belonging to a world once lived, a world that is no longer. But what is the nature of this world that is no longer? Should we say that it is simply past? Then it too would be taken to be just an objectified entity, among other entities situated in an already defined chronological sequence of things. From where does this meaning of “past-ness” emerge? It comes from the no-longer-being of human existence, that is designated as “having-been-there” (da-gewesen), the perfective version of Da-sein. Heidegger does not say so, but another term for this phenomenon could be: Da-sein as un-living. The dead – as those having-been-there – are the source of the meaning of the historical, precisely by not being simply past, but by somehow lingering on in that ghostlike region of perfective being.

The very meaning of pastness invites the pastness of the other, not as an entity from a presumed objective past preserved in the present, but as a strange pastness in the present, of which we are somehow part, and in and through which we are united in acts of understanding, repetition and action. Human existence is a temporally finite and thrown projection that finds its authenticity in so called existential “resolve” (Entschlossenheit). Yet its own death – or finitude – does not provide it with specific possibilities. In other words, realizing our mortality does not necessarily teach us how to live. Heidegger recognizes this when he concludes that authentic historicity is when Dasein discloses its own possibilities in terms of a “heritage” or “inheritance” (Erbe) that it assumes.
In the constitution of historical time, we are open to the future through the enactment of a “past” that makes its appearance in the form of an inheritance. It is in and through this that our thoughts and actions are enacted in relation to the dead, not as a mere repetition, but as response, Wiederholung as Erwiderung. Dasein lives its historicity in this openness toward an address that has always already reached it from Dasein that has already been, or from having-been-ness as such.

The historical in Dasein appears as an ambiguous middle ground where it first emerges as an inner opening in the direction of the demand of the dead other. It is not properly a “dialogue”, for the situation lacks genuine reciprocity. Historical Dasein relates to an address that reaches it both from the outside and from inside itself, in relation to which it is called to respond and to take responsibility, and which thereby contributes to constituting it in its own sense of continuity and identity. Before and beyond history as the presumed existence of an objective past, we need to explore the different ways in which the human being comports itself in response to those who are no longer here, and yet who are here, the ghosts and the spectres that rely on us to remember them, and which come back to haunt us when we believe that we have laid them to rest.

Was this what Patočka had in mind? Was this what he had sensed when he jotted down the last lines of his sketch? We do not know. But from Ivan Chvatik’s summary of his philosophy of history, I borrow the formulation that Patočka’s fundamental problem was always of how to understand history in terms of the struggle of a free situated existence “formed by the development and conflicts of these creative energies, of these powers which we deliberately render our life tributary to”. History would then be the permanent attempt to orient oneself not just within an abstract temporal stretch, but in an existential space constituted by a being-with-the-dead.

Before I end, let me add one more thought, one that emerged directly from my reading of Patočka’s text. In Heidegger’s account of historicity as a form of struggling communication with the dead, there is no reflection on the means of this communication. It is as if the inherited possibilities simply manifest themselves within the existential space of resolute Dasein. In Patočka’s reflections on the possible ways of keeping the dead alive, the lacuna is even greater. He restricts this problem to the workings of memory, the personal interiority in which we try in vain to hold on to the other in the face of his or her irrevocable disappearance. In his melancholy reflection on loss and his own existential responsibility to care for the survival of the other, Patočka seems unaware of the activity in which he himself is involved: namely caring for his own survival beyond the threshold of death through writing. As we read this text today (in my case in French translation), a curious phenomenological situation appears. The voice that emerges from the printed pages, and with which I enter into a “dialogue”, the voice of learning and polemic, the living voice that speaks from its own horizon of the difficulty of holding onto the dead, is the voice of someone who himself is dead. And it is I, and we, who now, through our act of responsive retrieval, make this voice happen, so that it can bear witness again to its lonely sense of responsibility vis-à-vis the dead. Thus Patočka himself accomplishes, through the very act of writing, what he claims to be impossible.

Patočka both sees and does not see this problem of the mediality of afterlife. In the essay, he speaks of “incorporation” as the means and vehicle of afterlife. Yet, when he asks how a dead person can still remain, and whether he can do so in the present, or only through a technical means from the past, he refers to the possibility of existing only as “recorded on a record or a magnetic tape”. The negative comparison, referring to the technically preserved voice, betrays his inability to fully assess the workings of the most powerful form of incorporated spirituality that we have, namely writing. In the very moment of writing, he commits himself to a survival, by letting his thoughts become precisely incorporated. Not in the fragile memory of a living being, nor as the sonic quality of a recorded voice, but in its very meaning and intention, through the medium of the written language.

Still, it was he himself, who in the Heretical essays wrote – if only in passing – that “Writing too is a precondition for this higher stage, where life relates explicitly, in memory, to others, to life among them and in them, beyond the limits of one’s own generative continuum.”
More than any other medium or activity, writing could rightly be called the vehicle of spectral or spiritual survival, or the foremost technology of afterlife. When we read these lines by Patočka, signed and consigned by him, we hear the voice of that distant other, who is nowhere present, and yet ever so present, and in this very moment, here.

Hans Ruin is Professor of Philosophy at Södertörn University (Stockholm) and Director of the research program “Time, Memory and Representation”.

This article is based on a paper given at the conference Human Existence as Movement. Patočka’s existential phenomenology and its political dimension, organized by the IWM on June 3-5, 2014.

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  • János Kornai

    János Kornai is Prof. em. for Economics  at Harvard University and Permanent Fellow at the Collegium Budapest – Institute for Advanced Study. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europeae, and Foreign Member of the American, British, Bulgarian, Finnish, Russian and Swedish Academies. He has served as President of …
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  • Bilyana Kourtasheva

    Post-Doc in Theory and History of Literature, New Bulgarian University, Sofia
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  • János Mátyás Kovács

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Senior member of RECET, Institute of East European History, Vienna University; Professor of Economic History, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
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  • Ivan Krastev

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Chair of the Board, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
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  • Yustyna Kravchuk

    PhD candidate in Film and Media Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv
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  • Jacek Kucharczyk

    Jacek Kucharczyk ist Head of Programs am Institute of Public Affairs in Warschau.   Print

  • Aleksander Kwasniewski

    Aleksander Kwasniewski war Präsident Polens. Seine Amtszeit verlief von 1995 bis 2005 über zwei Legislaturperioden.   Print

  • Mladen Lazic

    Professor of Sociology, University of Belgrade
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  • Claus Leggewie

    Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen
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  • Mark Leonard

    Co-founder and Director, European Council on Foreign Relations
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  • André Liebich

    Honorary Professor of International History and Politics, Graduate Institute, Geneva
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  • Burkhard Liebsch

    Burkhard Liebsch ist Professor für Philosophie an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum.   Print

  • Michal Luczewski

    Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, Warsaw University
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  • Charles S. Maier

    Charles S. Maier ist Direktor des Center for European Studies, Harvard University.   Print

  • Andrey Makarychev

    Andrey Makarychev ist Professor und Research Fellow am Institut Osteuropäische Studien an der Freien Universität Berlin.   Print

  • Michał Maciej Matlak

    Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute, Florence
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  • Erik Meyer

    Erik Meyer ist seit 2000 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Sonderforschungsbereich ‘Erinnerungskulturen’ an der Justus-Liebig Universität Gießen.   Print

  • Krzysztof Michalski

    IWM Founding Rector
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  • Hans J. Misselwitz

    Hans-Jürgen Misselwitz ist ein deutscher SPD-Politiker und Gründungsmitglied des Instituts Solidarische Moderne.   Print

  • Alessandro Monsutti

    Alessandro Monsutti is an associate professor of anthropology and development sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, as well as research associate at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. He worked as a consultant for several nongovernmental and international organizations, icnluding UNHCR. His book War and Migration: Social Networks …
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  • Jan-Werner Müller

    Professor of Politics, Princeton University

    Visiting Fellow
    (September 2016 – August 2017)
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  • Rainer Münz

    Professor für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
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  • Sighard Neckel

    Professor of Sociology, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
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  • Katherine Newman

    Katherine S. Newman is the James B. Knapp Dean of The Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. She is a widely published expert on poverty and the working poor who led major interdisciplinary initiatives at Princeton and Harvard universities.     Print

  • Pierre Nora

    Pierre Nora lehrt Geschichte an der École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris.   Print

  • Tereza Novotna

    Political Science, Boston University
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  • Ewald Nowotny

    Ewald Nowotny is Governor of the Austrian National Bank.   Print

  • Thomas Nowotny

    Thomas Nowotny teaches Political Science at the University of Vienna. He has been Austrian diplomat, private secretary to Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, senior political counselor to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and consultant to the OECD.   Print

  • Vlad Odobescu

    Freelance journalist, Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, Bucharest
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  • Andrzej Paczkowski

    Professor für Geschichte, Institut für Politische Studien, Polnische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Warschau
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  • Emilia Palonen

    Politics, University of Essex
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  • Irina Papkova

    Irina Papkova is a Research Fellow of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. She spent five years teaching at the Department of International Relations and European Studies at Central European University, Budapest.   Print

  • Agnieszka Pasieka

    Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the Martin Luther University, Halle/Saale
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  • Gleb Pavlovsky

    President, Center of Effective Policies; Member, Public Chamber of the Russian Federation; Editor-in-Chief, The Russian Journal, Moscow
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  • György Péteri

    Professor of Contemporary European History, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
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  • Tanja Petrovic

    Tanja Petrovic works at the Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana.   Print

  • David Petruccelli

    PhD candidate in History, Yale University
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  • Alexander von Plato

    Alexander von Plato ist ein deutscher Philosoph und Historiker. Er gründete das Instituts für Geschichte und Biographie an der Fernuniversität Hagen, das er bis 2007 leitete. Von 1996 bis 2000 war er Sekretär der International Oral History Association, von 2006 bis 2008 deren Vizepräsident. Er ist Mitherausgeber und Redakteur von BIOS – Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral …
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  • Andrei Pleșu

    Andrei Pleșu ist Rektor des New Europe College, Bukarest. 1989- 1991 war er rumänischer Kulturminister und 1997- 1999 rumänischer Außenminister.   Print

  • Martin Pollack

    Martin Pollack, geb. 1944 in OÖ, studierte Slawistik und osteuropäische Geschichte. Er war von 1987 bis 1998 Redakteur des “Spiegel” in Warschau und Wien und lebt heute als Schriftsteller und literarischer Übersetzer in Wien und Bocksdorf im Südburgenland. 2011 erhielt er den Leipziger Buchpreis zur Europäischen Verständigung und 2012 den Stanislaw-Vincenz-Preis. Zuletzt erschien von ihm …
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  • Krzysztof Pomian

    Krzysztof Pomian is Professor of History at the Nicolaus Copernicus University (Toruń) and Academic Director of the Museum of Europe in Brussels.   Print

  • Romano Prodi

    Romano Prodi war von September 1999 bis November 2004 Präsident der Europäischen Kommission.   Print

  • Lipin Ram

    PhD candidate and teaching assistant in Anthropology and Sociology of Development, Graduate Institute, Geneva
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  • Mykola Riabchuk

    Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies, Academy of Sciences, Kyiv
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  • Edelbert Richter

    Edelbert Richter ist deutscher Theologe, Politiker und war Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages.   Print

  • Paul Ricoeur

    Paul Ricoeur ist Philosoph und war Professor Emeritus an der University of Chicago und an der Sorbonne. Er war Mitglied der Académie Francaise und Mitglied des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats des IWM. Er starb 2005.   Print

  • Michel Rocard

    Michel Rocard, former First Secretary of the French Socialist Party and a member of the European Parliament for 15 years, was Prime Minister of France from 1988 to 1991.   Print

  • Akos Rona-Tas

    Akos Rona-Tas is professor at the Sociology Department of the University of California, San Diego and a research associate at Met@risk, INRA, Paris. He is the author of the books Plastic Money: Constructing Markets for Credit Cards in Eight Postcommunist Countries (with Alya Guseva, 2014) and Surprise of the Small Transformation: Demise of Communism and …
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  • Lew Rubinstein

    Lew Rubinstein lebt als Poet und Essayist in Moskau. Nach dem Studium der Philologie war er als Bibliothekar tätig. Seit Ende der 1960er-Jahre verfasst er poetische Arbeiten, seit 1974 serielle Textzyklen als so genannte Kartotheken. Zusammen mit Andrej Monastyrskij, Dimitrij A. Prigov und Vladimir Sorokin gilt er als wichtigster Vertreter des Moskauer Konzeptualismus. Print

  • Jacques Rupnik

    Geschichte und Politikwissenschaft, Paris
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  • Claudia Šabic

    Claudia Šabi? ist Politikwissenschaftlerin und Ethnologin. Seit 1998 ist sie Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main. Print

  • Ranabir Samaddar

    Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group
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  • Paul Sanders

    Paul Sanders is a historian and management scholar. He is a full-time professor at Reims Management School in Reims, France. He has published across the disciplines of history, international relations and leadership.   Print

  • Karl Schlögel

    Karl Schlögel war Professor für Osteuropäische Geschichte zuerst an der Universität Konstanz, dann an der Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. Nach seiner Emeritierung arbeitet er an einer Archäologie des Kommunismus und einer Geschichte des Wolgaraumes. Zurzeit ist er City of Vienna/IFK Fellow am IFK in Wien.     Print

  • Thomas Schmid

    Thomas Schmid is the publisher of the WELT Group, Berlin. He worked for various newspapers, among them as editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. From 2006 to 2010 he was Editor-in-Chief of Die Welt.   Print

  • Margit Schratzenstaller

    Margit Schratzenstaller is senior researcher at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) and is currently coordinating (together with Karl Aiginger and Stefan Ederer) ‘WWW for Europe’, a 4-year research project within the 7th Framework Program funded by the European Commission.   Print

  • Dieter Segert

    Dieter Segert ist Professor für Transformationsprozesse in Mittel-, Südost- und Osteuropa am Institut für Politikwissenschaft der Universität Wien. Seit September 2007 ist er Mitglied des Vorstandes des IDM Wien, seit Juni 2008 Mitglied der Leibniz-Sozietät der Wissenschaften zu Berlin.   Print

  • Victoriya Sereda

    Sociologie, Ivan-Franko-Universität, Lviv
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  • Michel Serres

    Michel Serres ist Philosoph und Mitglied der Académie Française.   Print

  • Anton Shekhovtsov

    PhD in Political Science
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  • Marci Shore

    Associate Professor of History, Yale University

    Visiting Fellow
    (July 2020 – June 2021)
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  • Sławomir Sierakowski

    Director, Institute for Advanced Study, Warsaw; Founder, "Krytyka Polityczna" movement
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  • Sara Silverstein

    Ph.D. Candidate in Modern European and International History, Yale University
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  • Ondřej Slačálek

    Assistant Professor of Political Science, Charles University, Prague
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  • Aleksander Smolar

    Political Science, Paris
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  • Timothy Snyder

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Richard C. Levin Professor of History, Yale University
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  • George Soros

    George Soros is a pioneer of the hedge-fund industry, investor and philanthropist, he is the author of many books, including Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays (2012), The Soros Lectures: At the Central European University (2010), The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Finance Markets (2009).   …
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  • Robert Spaemann

    Robert Spaemann ist Professor em. für Philosophie an der Universität München.   Print

  • Pawel Spiewak

    Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Philosophy, Warsaw University
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  • Wilfried Stadler

    Wilfried Stadler ist Unternehmensberater, Wirtschaftspublizist und Honorarprofessor an der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. Bis 2009 war er Vorstandsvorsitzender einer österreichischen Spezialbank für Unternehmensfinanzierung.   Print

  • Rudolf Stamm

    Rudolf Stamm war von 1975 bis 1988 Korrespondent der Neuen Zürcher Zeitung für Osteuropa und Österreich, anschließend bis 1999 für Italien, dann bis zu seiner Pensionierung 2002 für die USA mit Sitz in Washington D.C. Er starb 2010 in der Schweiz. 1985 erscheinen seine NZZ-Reportagen aus Osteuropa in dem Band Alltag und Tradition in Osteuropa. …
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  • Paul Starr

    Paul Starr ist Professor für Soziologie an der Princeton University und Mitherausgeber von The American Prospect. Er ist Pulitzer-Preisträger.   Print

  • Martina Steer

    ÖAW APART Fellow (History)
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  • Kristina Stoeckl

    Research Director
    APART Fellow, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Department of Political Sciences, University of Vienna
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  • Roman Szporluk

    Roman Szporluk is Professor em. of Ukrainian History at Harvard and Professor em. of History at the University of Michigan. He is a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine. His research focuses on modern Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish history, and on Marxism and nationalism in Eastern Europe.   Print

  • Charles Taylor

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Professor em. of Philosophy, McGill University, Montréal
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  • Maria Teteriuk

    PhD candidate in Mass Communications and senior lecturer in Media Studies, National University of 'Kyiv-Mohyla Academy', Ukraine
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  • Philipp Ther

    Junior Professor of Polish and Ukrainian Studies, Europa-Universität Frankfurt / Oder
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  • Maria Todorova

    Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
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  • Balázs Trencsényi

    Balázs Trencsényi, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Department of History, CEU. His research focuses on the comparative history of political thought in East Central Europe and the history of historiography. He is co-director of Pasts, Inc., Center for Historical Studies at CEU and Associate Editor of the periodical East Central Europe (Brill). He was …
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  • Stefan Troebst

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  • Marius Turda

    Lecturer in the Education Abroad Program, Eötvös Lorand University, Faculty of Humanities, Budapest
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  • Andreas Umland

    Andreas Umland ist Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Euro-Atlantische Kooperation Kiew sowie Herausgeber der Buchreihe Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, ibidem-Verlag Stuttgart. Print

  • Victoria Vasilenko

    Assistant Professor of Contemporary History and International Relations, Belgorod National Research University
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  • David G. Victor

    David G. Victor is a Professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego, where he directs the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation.   Print

  • Harald Welzer

    Harald Welzer ist Forschungsprofessor für Sozialpsychologie an der Universität Witten/Herdecke und Direktor des Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research am Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts Essen.   Print

  • Karolina Wigura

    Adjunct of the History of Ideas, University of Warsaw; Co-Editor of Kultura Liberalna
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  • Volodymyr Yermolenko

    Volodymyr Yermolenko is a Ukrainian philosopher and essayist. He has a degree in Political Science from the EHESS, Paris, and teaches at Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kyiv. He is the author of the book Narrator and Philosopher: Walter Benjamin and his time (2011, in Ukrainian). Print

  • Oksana Zabuzhko

    Free-lance writer, Kiev
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  • Tatiana Zhurzhenko

    IWM Research Director, Russia in Global Dialogue and Ukraine in European Dialogue
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