Isabel Jacobs

Isabel Jacobs, M.A.

Queen Mary University of London (März - Mai 2022)

Dissertationsprojekt: Concrete Totality: Alexandre Kojève and the Avant-garde


Isabel Jacobs is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London, funded by The London Arts and Humanities Partnership. Situated at the intersection of comparative cultural studies, history of art, and philosophy, her research explores Russian-French philosopher Alexandre Kojève (1902-1968) in relation to the avant-garde. Her research interests include Soviet underground art and culture, global intellectual history, philosophy of science, semiotics, and cinema. She holds a M.A. in Russian and East European Literature and Culture from UCL SSEES (distinction) and a B.A. in Philosophy and Slavic Studies from Heidelberg University. Her work appeared in Studies in Eastern European Cinema, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books, East European Film Bulletin, Phenomenological Reviews and Calvert Journal. A book chapter on Kojève and Wassily Kandinsky is forthcoming this year. She is a contributing editor at the Journal of the History of Ideas Blog.


Concrete Totality: Alexandre Kojève and the Avant-Garde


Isabel’s project Concrete Totality: Alexandre Kojève and the Avant-Garde seeks a new understanding of Kojève as a transnational mediator in 1920-30s Paris. The main focus is to unveil the relevance of artistic theories and practices, most notably photography, Surrealism, and abstract painting, for Kojèves philosophical work. Examining Kojèves contact to the Parisian avant-garde, her research elucidates how visual practice and philosophy inform each other. A nephew (and collaborator) of Wassily Kandinsky, Kojève had a major influence on the Surrealists, including André Breton and Georges Bataille. Further, Kojève was a passionate collector and photographer, documenting his life from émigré Berlin of the 1920s to his travels in Asia, Europe and Russia in the 1950-60s. While at the DFK, Isabel explores various archival resources in Paris, mainly the Fonds Kojève” at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Besides his letters and manuscripts, many of them unpublished, she examines Kojève’s extensive visual collection of photographs and postcards. Other relevant archives include Bataille’s papers at the BNF, the Bibliothèque Kandinsky at the Centre Pompidou, the archives of the École Pratique des Hautes Études, and the Bibliotheque de l'Alliance Israélite Universelle.


Isabel Jacobs

Isabel Jacobs , M.A.