Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Opinion: Foucault fever in contemporary China – CGTN

By Zhao Hong. CGTN, 2017-02-24
Guest commentary by Zheng Yiran

On September 11, 2016, at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Art Museum, a thousand people squeezed into an auditorium that can accommodate only four hundred audience. It was the Beijing Premiere of Wang Min’an’s documentary, “Michel Foucault”. Hundreds of people were standing on the aisle to watch this 83-minute film, considered to be the epitome of the “Foucault Fever” in contemporary China.
In Douban, a very popular Chinese SNS website allowing people to share comments related to books, films and other cultural products and activities, the reading group of Foucault has gathered 12,000 people. The number of Foucault fans beats that of Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, G. W. F. Hegel. Interestingly, Foucault’s group is also bigger than other groups tagged “French culture,” “French literature” and “Sophie Marceau,” who is considered as the most popular French movie star in China.

It is worth thinking about the wide acceptance and spread of Foucault in China, who inspired Chinese intellectuals and changed their ways of thinking. When China has experienced dramatic transformations in the recent decades, people can find explanations from Foucault.

Editor: The organiser has asked me to post a reminder to register.




10.00: Chair: Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

Jonathan Dollimore
‘Foucault, Shakespeare and Cultural Materialism’

11.00: Coffee (Temple Pavilion)

11.30: Chair:

Kélina Gotman (King’s College University of London)
‘Foucault, Theatre, Critique’

Thomas Brockelman (Le Moyne College)
‘Foucault and Lacan Interpret Las Meninas: On the virtues and limitations of philosophical reading’

13.00: Lunch (Bell Inn, Hampton)

14.30: Chair:

Duncan Salkeld (University of Chichester)
King Lear and Foucault’s History of Madness

Jennifer Rust (Saint Louis University)
‘Of Government the Properties to Unfold:Foucault’s Genealogy of Governmentality and Measure for Measure

16.00: Tea (Temple Pavilion)

16.30: Chair:

Stuart Elden (University of Warwick)
‘Contagion in Troilus and Cressida

17.30: Round Table Discussion

To register for this event go to:

Dowd, G.
Regimes of language and light in J. S. Le Fanu’s ‘Green Tea’
(2018) Textual Practice, pp. 1-24. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/0950236X.2018.1426037

While positioning and contextualising the short story ‘Green Tea’ by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814–1873) in relation to existing Le Fanu scholarship, this article seeks to explore further the textual reflexivity for which it is renowned. The regimes of language and light (a formulation loosely derived from the work of Michel Foucault) are presented in Le Fanu as intertwined, yet each is also presented as paradoxically set apart. Le Fanu’s tale displays the discontinuity and mutual exteriority of the regimes in the form of an experimental exploration within the form of the tale itself. Through an attention to the interrelationship of the scopic and textual (and, to a lesser extent, the auditory) regimes of ‘Green Tea’, and to the manner in which writing is explicitly figured as both the source of disjunction and the site of interpenetration of the regimes, it is proposed that a specific understanding of allegory (in a semantic register drawing on work by Walter Benjamin and Paul de Man) can provide a fresh perspective on ‘Green Tea’ as an archive of the regimes of language and light of its time. © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
allegoresis; Allegory; de Man; Le Fanu; scopic regime

How ruling class controls the public

Gao Lei addresses power, violence
By Kwon Mee-yoo. Korea Times, Dec 2017
Exhibition ran until January 7 2018

Editor’s note: old news

Chinese artist Gao Lei explores the power, control and violence of the ruling class in contemporary society through witty and allegorical art.

“I was inspired by French philosopher Michel Foucault’s thoughts on power and control,” Gao said during a press conference in November. “I’m based in Shanghai now and there are factories near my studio. The change of environment also influenced materials used for my works.”

Progressive Geographies

Foucault, Les aveux de la chair is reviewed in Spanish by Agustín Colombo (open access)

A roundup of news stories and other pieces – mostly in French and some in English is here. My review essay is on the Theory, Culture and Society blog (open access), and is forthcoming in the journal.

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Lindh, K.
The construction of lay rescuers in bystander CPR classes
(2018) Library Trends, 66 (3), pp. 315-328.

DOI: 10.1353/lib.2018.0005

There are many situations in society and life in which the body is expected to play an important role for the acquisition of particular skills. This article reports on a study of such a situation, namely when information about first aid and how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CRP) is mediated to nonmedical professionals. The aim of the article is to tease out how different modes of informing feature in first aid and CPR classes for the lay public in order to transform participants in such classes into CPR-trained lay rescuers ready to intervene in cases of what is suspected to be cardiac arrests. The understanding of the role of the body in information-related activities is based on a practice-theoretical approach. How information figures in the practice of first aid and CPR training is also discussed in light of Foucault’s notions of biopolitics and self-technologies. The practice-theoretical approach illuminates how bodies are entwined in information activities, and the notions of biopolitics and self-technology illuminate how the practice of bystander CPR training instantiates control through the different kinds of informing activities that occur in classes. This study is based on material gathered through observations in bystander CPR classes. © 2018 The Board of Trustees, University of Illinois.

Ashe, Leah M. (2018). “He, she, we, they, and it: The subjects of food and torture.” Presentation at the International Conference on Food History and Cultures, Institut Européen D’Histoire et des Cultures de L’Alimentation (IEHCA), Tours, France, 7-8 June 2018.

Text available at


Patrick Gamez, Did Foucault do Ethics? The “Ethical Turn,” Neoliberalism, and the Problem of Truth, Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy – Revue de la philosophie française et de langue française, Vol XXVI, No 1 (2018) pp 107-133

DOI 10.5195/jffp.2018.818

Open access

This paper argues against a common misunderstanding of Foucault’s work. Even after the release of his lectures at the Collège de France, which ran throughout the 1970s until his death in 1984, he is still often taken to have made an “ethical” turn toward the end of his life. As opposed to his genealogies of power published in the 1970s, which are relentlessly suspicious of claims of individual agency, his final monographs focus on the ethical self-formation of free individuals. I suggest that this basic misinterpretation makes possible interpretations of Foucault’s work as being sympathetic to neoliberal government, by linking the ethical turn to a “liberal” or “neoliberal” turn in his thought. I present a case against the ethical turn by arguing that Foucault’s main focus, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, is a concern for the ways in which we become obligated by truth.

veridiction; governmentality; biopolitics; Foucault; ethics; truth; neoliberalism

Gormley, K.
Neoliberalism and the discursive construction of ‘creativity’
(2018) Critical Studies in Education, pp. 1-16. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2018.1459762

This paper resists normative definitions of ‘creativity’ to argue that the concept is constructed by neoliberal discourses in education policy. The analysis is firstly centred on the Australian context, and this is further informed and complimented by a global perspective. Focusing on two pivotal policies, The Melbourne Declaration of Educational Goals for Young Australians and PISA 2012 Results: Creative Problem Solving, the paper argues that universal versions of creativity, such as those that align the concept with problem-solving or design endeavour, are a product of market logic. Using Foucault’s concept of homo economius, it traces how creativity is subsumed into discourses of workplace readiness and rapidly changing environments, and proceeds to identify how select and partial discourses of the concept, such as creativity as instrumental and determinable are supported, while there is a silence around alternative conceptualisations. The paper concludes with a discussion on how the discursive positioning of creativity by neoliberal themes and formations brings about real effects: certain work practices are valued more than others and particular student and teacher subjectivities are endorsed or demoted ‘in the name of’ creativity. © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
Creativity; Foucault; homo economicus; knowledge; neoliberalism; policy; power

McGlashan, H., Fitzpatrick, K.
‘I use any pronouns, and I’m questioning everything else’: transgender youth and the issue of gender pronouns
(2018) Sex Education, pp. 1-14. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/14681811.2017.1419949

The nature of sex/ualities, genders and schooling has changed considerably over the last 20 years, with global political, social and cultural shifts bringing the lives of queer youth to the fore. Trans youth are now more visible and various kinds of support groups in schools (such as diversity support groups, queer groups and gay–straight alliances) have emerged. This article reports on a critical ethnographic study conducted with queer youth in a co-educational secondary school in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand. The focus of the research was on exploring how LGBTQ students actively negotiate their identities in school. A particular issue of interest was how gendered pronouns (s/he, him, her) are used (both in and outside of schools). We consider how the naming of pronouns both disrupts the articulation between sex, gender and sexuality and also reinforces stable gender identities and binaries. This opens up new possibilities for the trans students to identify but also works to reinforce hierarchies and power relations. We employ the theoretical tools of Foucault (power and resistance) and Butler (the heterosexual matrix, intelligible subjects and performativity) to conceptualise and interpret the power relations evident in trans students’ experiences of using gender pronouns. © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
gay–straight alliance; gender; New Zealand; pronouns; sexuality; Transgender

Index Keywords
adult, article, female, gender identity, heterosexuality, high school, human, juvenile, male, New Zealand, student, support group, theoretical study, transgender

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