Thursday, November 12, 2009

Foucault Society reading group meeting

The Foucault Society, NYC

Fall 2009 Reading Group
Foucault(s) Beyond Foucault: Essays, Interviews, Lectures (1976-84)
The third meeting of the Foucault Society's Fall 2009 Reading Group will be on Friday, November 13, 7:00-9:30pm.
Location: CUNY Graduate Center , 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 5414.

Texts for discussion:

--Michel Foucault, "Questions of Method." (In Power: Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984. James D. Faubion, ed.; Robert Hurley, trans., New York : The New Press, 2000).

--Michel Foucault, Remarks on Marx: Conversations with Duccio Trombadori. R. James Goldstein and James Cascaito, trans. (New York: Semio-text(e), 1991).

Please come prepared with a question or section of the text to discuss with the group.

To access the readings:

For a limited time, readings are available on GoogleDocs to reading group participants. For access instructions, please write to reading group organizer Aaron Weeks at

About the Reading Group:

This reading group explores lesser-read works from Foucault's later period, 1976-84--between the publication of The History of Sexuality's first volume in 1976 and the later two volumes in 1984. Challenging the critical view of these years as an eight-year silence for Foucault, we hope to show that this was an incredibly productive, if intellectually troubling, time for him. We aim to move beyond the tendency of some social theorists to preserve, as in a fossil, the Foucault of Discipline and Punish or The History of Sexuality, Volume I (reducing his ideas to a few pages on panopticism or a slogan, "power/knowledge"). We also interrogate the critical tendency to focus on reconciling this "break" between Foucault's early and late work. (After all, how could the antihumanist who proclaimed the death of Man turn to such a homely problem as the self, o r the astute historian of disciplinary power turn to the question of ethics?) Recognizing that the recent publication of Foucault’s lectures on state racism, governmentality, and liberalism is beginning to generate new approaches, we also maintain that work remains to be done on his shorter pieces.

We will read lectures, interviews, and essays by Foucault, many of which have become available in English translation only in the past decade. Beginning with Society Must Be Defended, we first consider Foucault's intimations of a methodological crisis in Lectures 1 and 2. We then follow Foucault's various trajectories and intellectual experiments--his methodological concerns, his encounter with Iranian politics, his re-engagement with Kant, and his experiments with an ethics of the self. Rather than aiming to reconstruct a continuous intellectual history or determine the real or final Foucault, we will treat the apparent discontinuities and ruptures of thought in these texts as so many Foucaults capable of destabilizing the author function. What new directions for our own contemporary research are opened up by Foucault's work of this period?

Suggested Donation: $5/meeting. No one will be turned away for lack of ability to pay.

Open to the public. No experience necessary. Advanced researchers and graduate students will be encouraged to share their research in progress.

For more information or to register: Contact Reading Group Organizer, Aaron Weeks (Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center ) at

About the Foucault Society:

The Foucault Society is an independent, non-profit educational organization offering a variety of forums dedicated to critical study of the ideas of Michel Foucault (1926-1984) within a contemporary context. The Foucault Society is a 501 (c) (3) recognized public charity. As such donations are tax deductible under section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.




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