Michel Foucault reading group

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Goals[edit | edit source]

This project aims to gather an interested group of individuals who will read and discuss texts by Michel Foucault.

Background[edit | edit source]

From the Wikipedia article Michel Foucault (IPA pronunciation: [miʃel fuko]; English-speakers' pronunciation varies) (October 15, 1926 – June 25, 1984) was a French philosopher. He held a chair at the Collège de France, which he gave the title "The History of Systems of Thought." His writings have had an enormous impact: Foucault's influence extends across the humanities and social sciences and into applied and professional areas of study.

Foucault is known for his critical studies of various social institutions, most notably psychiatry, medicine, parameters of educational timeframes, and the prison system, and also for his work on the history of sexuality. His work concerning power and the relation between power and knowledge, as well as his ideas concerning "discourse" in relation to the history of Western thought, have been widely discussed and applied.

His work is often described as postmodernist or post-structuralist by commentators and critics; during the 1960s, however, he was more often associated with the structuralist movement. Although he was initially happy with this description, he later emphasized his distance from the structuralist approach, and he always unequivocally rejected the 'post-structuralist' and 'postmodernist' labels.

Learning Project Summary[edit | edit source]

Each month a text will be chosen and the group will read it and then post comments and questions to this Learning Group.

Suggested Texts[edit | edit source]

December 2006 The Archeology of Knowledge

Learning Activities[edit | edit source]

Texts[edit | edit source]

Copied from Wikipedia article Michel Foucault

Year Original French English Translation
1954 Maladie mentale et personnalité (Paris: PUF, 1954) re-edited as Maladie mentale et psychologie (1995) Mental Illness and Psychology trans. by A. M. Sheridan-Smith, (New York: Harper and Row, 1976)
1961 Histoire de la folie à l'âge classique - Folie et déraison (Paris: Plon, 1961) Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason trans. by R. Howard, (London: Tavistock, 1965) - this is a greatly abridged version
1963 Naissance de la clinique - une archéologie du regard médical (Paris: PUF, 1963) The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception
1963 Raymond Roussel (Paris: Gallimard, 1963) Death and the Labyrinth: the World of Raymond Roussel
1966 Les mots et les choses - une archéologie des sciences humaines (Paris : Gallimard, 1966) The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
1969 L'archéologie du savoir (Paris : Gallimard, 1969) Archaeology of Knowledge) (first three chapters available here)
1971 L'ordre du discours (Paris : Gallimard, 1971) 'The Discourse in Language'; translation appears as an appendix to the Archaeology of Knowledge
1975 Surveiller et punir (Paris : Gallimard, 1975) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison
1976-84 Histoire de la sexualité
  • Vol I: La Volonté de savoir (Paris: Gallimard, 1976)
  • Vol II: L'Usage des plaisirs (Paris: Gallimard, 1984)
  • Vol III: Le Souci de soi (Paris: Gallimard, 1984)
The History of Sexuality
  • Vol I: The Will to Knowledge
  • Vol II: The Use of Pleasure
  • Vol III: The Care of the Self

References[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia articles[edit | edit source]

Active participants[edit | edit source]

Active participants in this Learning Group