Associated Researcher

Senior researcher at CNRS, in service at ITEM (UMR 8132 CNRS/ENS Paris)
  benedetta.zaccarello AT cnrs DOT fr


A researcher at CNRS, Benedetta Zaccarello works on contemporary philosophy through the study of its manuscripts and archives. Her research aims at understanding the role played by writing in the production of abstract discourse, analyzing author’s drafts as traces of thinking and composing practices while using the archival documents to situate concepts creation into an existential, historical and cultural background.

She has been teaching contemporary philosophy and aesthetics at the Universities of Fez (Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah), Venice (IUAV) and Prague (Charles University) and she currently teaches genetic criticism at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Her research activities cover manuscripts and archival materials by Paul Valéry, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, Jan Patočka, Marguerite Duras and Aurobindo Ghose.She has critically co-edited Paul Valéry, Cahiers 1894-1914 (Gallimard) and edited Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Recherches sur l’usagelittéraire du langage (MetisPresses, 2013).

In service at ITEM (UMR 8132, CNRS/ENS Paris), she coordinates its « Equipe Valéry » as well as the International Research Network AITIA – Archives of International Theory an Intercultural Approach – financed by CNRS (2020-2024) and federating ten research institutions across India and Europe.In collaboration with Kannan M. and the department of Social Sciences at IFP she has created a set of international conferences entitled “What is an archive in India and Europe?”


After several years studying, editing and reflecting upon European philosophical manuscripts,Benedetta Zaccarello started to do research on the manuscripts collections conserved at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, retracing notably the genetic process leading – over decades of drafts and (re)writing campaigns – to the publication of The Life Divine. Observed through the lens of the archival materials the Eastern and Western sources of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy appear more clearly as the evolution of his system of thought or the interactions with the disciples and the key figure of Mirra Alfassa. Such documents are considered as traces of thinking and writing practices and the living memory of a network of people, emphasizing the importance of the collaboration amongst the different actors involved in the production of the documents as, later, in the organization of the archives.

Since March 2019, Benedetta Zaccarello coordinates with Kannan M.“What is an archive in India and Europe?”, a series of international three days conferences exploring the notion of archive from the standpoints of European and Indian cultures. These events focus on the “archival function” as embodied by different practices and traditions in the two specific contexts, with a bottom up approach involving both researchers and professionals and progressively mapping different kinds of archival institutions operating in India. Two events took place at IFP Pondicherry (2019) and at IIT Madras (2022), a third will be hosted by the School of Cultural Texts and Record at the Jadavpur University in 2023.

“What is an archive in India and Europe?” is a collaboration between IFP and the “AITIA” International Research Network(Archives of International Theory, a Transcultural Approach), a five years project financed by CNRS under the scientific supervision of Benedetta Zaccarello. The project aims at emphasizing intersubjective and intercultural dynamics across different cultural traditions and disciplinary fields in manuscripts and archives related to the production of abstract discourse, it produces research activities on the topic as digital tools for a dynamic representation of such documents.


Click here for list of publications.