Professor Avital Ronell to be Awarded Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters

October 16, 2015 | By French Culture

NEW YORK, October 16, 2015 – Avital Ronell, philosopher, literary theorist, and professor of German, English, and comparative literature at NYU, will be awarded the insignia of chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy, on Thursday, October 22, 2015, at the Payne Whitney Mansion in New York, home to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

As a philosopher, Ronell has been noted for her distinctive, daring style, which applies the influences of Heidegger, Nietzsche and more, to contemporary subjects like drug wars and the AIDS crisis. Ronell began working closely with French philosopher Jacques Derrida before his writings were accepted by mainstream academia, and was one of Derrida’s first English translators. She has worked extensively with other French philosophers such as Jean-Luc Nancy, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Emmanuel Levinas, Hélène Cixous, among others, and has brought their intellectual ideas to an American, German, and Latin American audience by incorporating them into her own thought. Her writing has covered everything from the philosophy of the telephone to the conundrums of stupidity and always with language that is as poetic and performative as it is rigorous.Through her extraordinary intellect and boundless creativity she has created a singular body of work with an international reach. One of her innovations, in addition to her written work, involves the establishment of the lecture performance as a mode of theoretical articulation.

Ronell’s published works include the following: Loser Sons: Politics and Authority(2012); The Uber Reader: Selected Works of Avital Ronell (2007); The Test Drive(2005); Stupidity (2001); The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech (2001); Finitude’s Score: Essays for the End of the Millennium (1994); Crack Wars: Literature, Addiction, Mania (1992); and Dictations: On Haunted Writing (1986).


The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. The Order of Arts and Letters is given out under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Culture and Communication.  American recipients of the award include Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Agnes Gund, Marilyn Horne, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Uma Thurman. 

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, educational and university programs to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop Albertine, it fosters French-American exchange around literature and the arts. www.frenchculture.org


Media Contact:

Judith Walker - + 1 (212) 439-1417 – judith.walker@diplomatie.gouv.fr
Frenchculture.org - @franceinnyc - facebook.com/frenchculture

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