Michael Hardt

Michael Hardt
Michael Hardt

Michael Hardt speaking at the Seminário Internacional Mundo. 2008
Full name Michael Hardt
Born 1960
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Continental philosophy, Autonomist thought, Queer theory
Main interests Political philosophy, literature

Michael Hardt (born 1960)[1] is an American literary theorist and political philosopher perhaps best known for Empire, written with Antonio Negri and published in 2000.[2] It has been called the Communist Manifesto of the 21st Century.[3]

Hardt and his co-author suggest that what they view as forces of contemporary class oppression, globalization and the commodification of services (or production of affects), have the potential to spark social change of unprecedented dimensions. A sequel, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, published in August 2004, details the notion, first propounded in Empire, of the multitude as possible locus of a democratic movement of global proportions.

The third and final part of the trilogy, Commonwealth, appeared in the Fall of 2009.



Born in Washington, D.C., Hardt attended Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland. He studied engineering at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania from 1978 to 1983. In college during the 1970s energy crisis, he began to take an interest in alternative energy sources.[1] Talking about his college politics, he said, "I thought that doing alternative energy engineering for third world countries would be a way of doing politics that would get out of all this campus political posing that I hated."

After college, he worked for various solar energy companies.[2] Hardt also worked with non-governmental organizations in Central America on tasks like bringing donated computers from the United States and putting them together for the University of El Salvador. Yet, he says that this political activity did more for him than it did for the Salvadorans.

In 1983, he moved to Seattle to study comparative literature at the University of Washington.[1] While there, he received an M.A. in 1986 and his PhD in 1990.[4] From there he went to Paris where he would meet Negri.

Hardt speaks fluent French and Italian and is Professor of Literature and Italian at Duke University and a Professor of Philosophy and Politics at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee.[2]


Hardt is concerned with the joy of political life, and has stated, "One has to expand the concept of love beyond the limits of the couple."[5] The politics of the multitude is not solely about controlling the means of productivity or liberating one's own subjectivity. These two are also linked to love and joy of political life and realizing political goals.

Hardt does not consider teaching a revolutionary occupation, nor does he think the college is a particularly political institution. "But thinking of politics now as a project of social transformation on a large scale, I'm not at all convinced that political activity can come from the university."[6]

According to Michael Hardt,[7] visions of a public education and equal and open access to the university are gradually disappearing: the "war on terror" has promoted only limited military and technological knowledges, while the required skills of the biopolitical economy, "the creation of ideas, images, code, affects, and other immaterial goods"[7] are not yet recognized as the primary key to economic innovation.

Co-authorship with Antonio Negri

Most of Hardt's works have been co-written with Antonio Negri, who was in prison for most of his career.




Film appearances

  • Marx Reloaded, Arte, April 2011.
  • Examined Life, Sphinx Productions, 87 min., 2008.
  • Antonio Negri: A Revolt that Never Ends, ZDF/Arte, 52 min., 2004.


  1. ^ a b c Vulliamy, Ed (2001-07-15). "Empire hits back". The Guardian (London). http://observer.guardian.co.uk/global/story/0,,524215,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  2. ^ a b c Michael Hardt Faculty Page at European Graduate School Biography, Bibliography and Video Lectures. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
  3. ^ Weltz, Alexandra. "Antonio Negri: A Revolt that Never Ends". Retrieved 14 March 2009. http://multitude.tv/component/option,com_seyret/Itemid,1/task,videodirectlink/id,105
  4. ^ "Michael Hardt faculty page at Duke University". http://fds.duke.edu/db/aas/Romance/faculty/hardt. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  5. ^ Michael Hardt. Identity and Difference. Lecture at European Graduate School EGS. 2005
  6. ^ Michael Hardt, Caleb Smith, and Enrico Minardi. "The Collaborator and the Multitude: An Interview with Michael Hardt." The Minnesota Review. no. 61-62. 2004.
  7. ^ a b Hardt, Michael. "US education and the crisis." European Graduate School. December 1, 2010. (English).

External links


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