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In 1980, he received his first honorary doctorate (from Columbia University) and was awarded his State doctorate (doctorat d'État) by submitting to the University of Paris ten of his previously published books in conjunction with a defense of his intellectual project under the title "L'inscription de la philosophie : Recherches sur l'interprétation de l'écriture" ("Inscription in Philosophy: Research on the Interpretation of Writing").his 1980 dissertation was subsequently published in English translation as "The Time of a Thesis: Punctuations".During the Algerian War of Independence of 1954–1962, Derrida asked to teach soldiers' children in lieu of military service, teaching French and English from 1957 to 1959.
Late in his life, Derrida participated in making two biographical documentaries, D'ailleurs, Derrida (Derrida's Elsewhere) by Safaa Fathy (1999), whose invitation was expressed by the hermeneutic philosopher himself before his death.
Peter Hommelhoff, Rector at Heidelberg by that time, would summarize Derrida's place as: "Beyond the boundaries of philosophy as an academic discipline he was a leading intellectual figure not only for the humanities but for the cultural perception of a whole age." to govern its conception of language and consciousness.
Some critics consider Speech and Phenomena (1967) to be his most important work.
Others cite Of Grammatology, Writing and Difference, and Margins of Philosophy.
After visiting the Husserl Archive in Leuven, Belgium (1953–1954), he completed his master's degree in philosophy (diplôme d'études supérieures) on Edmund Husserl (see below).
He then passed the highly competitive agrégation exam in 1956.
Derrida received a grant for studies at Harvard University, and he spent the 1956–57 academic year reading James Joyce's Ulysses at the Widener Library.
In June 1957, he married the psychoanalyst Marguerite Aucouturier in Boston.
In this adolescent period, Derrida found in the works of philosophers and writers (such as Rousseau, Nietzsche, and Gide) an instrument of revolt against family and society.
On his first day at ENS, Derrida met Louis Althusser, with whom he became friends.