Foucault News

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

Farrell, F., Lander, V.
“We’re not British values teachers are we?”: Muslim teachers’ subjectivity and the governmentality of unease
(2018) Educational Review, pp. 1-17. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2018.1438369

This paper is a critical investigation of a group of eight Muslim religious education (RE) teachers’ views of fundamental British values in education (FBV). Findings demonstrate that as teachers of multicultural RE, they experience dissonance accommodating the requirements of FBV, and are critical of its divisive effects upon their students. They are able to reclaim some professional agency through their problematisation of FBV and reinterpretation of its requirements through the pluralistic discourse of RE. Drawing from Foucault’s analysis of power, we argue that the teachers’ views reveal that FBV is a disciplinary discourse, acting upon teacher and student bodies as a classificatory and social sorting instrument, which we conceptualise as an expression of the “governmentality of unease”. We conclude that further empirical research is required to critically examine how teachers are enacting this policy to assess how FBV continues to shape the education environment and the student and teacher subjects of its discourse. © 2018 Educational Review

Author Keywords
Foucault; Fundamental British values; governmentality; Muslim teachers; religious education; subjectivity

Photographing the Shiny, Kitsch Interiors of Italian Ferry Boats | AnOther, 9 May 2018
Allegra Martin is fascinated by the idea that ferries are “places suspended in time and space”, and has been photographing on board for almost a decade

20th-century philosopher Michel Foucault’s theory of heterotopia – the idea that spaces exist with various layers of functions and meanings – is one of his most famous. According to the French theorist, the ship is the “heterotopia par excellence”, “a floating piece of space, a place without a place”. This concept spoke to Italian photographer Allegra Martin, who has been taking pictures on ferry boats since 2009, and the resulting project, A Bordo, is being exhibited at Milanese location agency Anticàmera, with whom the photographer co-curated the exhibition, until September. “My interest initially focused on passengers killing time during travel, portraits of the crew at work or in moments of relaxation, and then exclusively on the ferry’s interiors and details,” Martin explains. “The interiors, with their sofas and cabins and carpets were perfect proof of this condition of ‘suspension’ – a place suspended in time and space.” Indeed, one of the photographer’s only hints at the world outside the ferries is an image taken on deck on a sunny day, in which the sea is just visible through a window.

Michel Foucault (center) with Jean Genet (right) at a Paris demonstration in the wake of the killing of Mohamed Diab by police in 1972.

Bruce Robbins, The Other Foucault (book review) | The Nation, NOVEMBER 2, 2017

At his death in 1984, Michel Foucault left a letter stating that he wanted no posthumous publication of his work. He should have known better: The hunger for further clarification and elaboration of the master’s positions would prove irresistible. So too has been the flow of posthumous publications, the most eagerly awaited of which have been the dozen or so book-length compilations of his annual lectures at the Collège de France, which began to appear in English translation in 2003.


The lectures, diverging as they often do from the books that made Foucault famous, only added to the controversy. They are—along with various manifestos, unpublished drafts, interviews, and other miscellaneous writings—now also the subject of two fascinating new books by Stuart Elden: Foucault: The Birth of Power and Foucault’s Last Decade. In the former, Elden tries to soothe some of the long-standing tensions between Foucault and Marx, in part by displaying hidden continuities between Foucault’s early work on madness and knowledge and his later work on power. In the latter, Elden deals with the 10 years after Foucault finished the manuscript of Discipline and Punish and began (on the same day!) The History of Sexuality.

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Progressive Geographies

9781138104372Ethics and Self-Cultivation: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, edited by Matthew Dennis and Sander Werkhoven and published by Routledge (usual comments on pricing apply).

The aim of Ethics and Self-Cultivation is to establish and explore a new ‘cultivation of the self’ strand within contemporary moral philosophy. Although the revival of virtue ethics has helped reintroduce the eudaimonic tradition into mainstream philosophical debates, it has by and large been a revival of Aristotelian ethics combined with a modern preoccupation with standards for the moral rightness of actions. The essays comprising this volume offer a fresh approach to the eudaimonic tradition: instead of conditions for rightness of actions, it focuses on conceptions of human life that are best for the one living it. The first section of essays looks at the Hellenistic schools and the way they influenced modern thinkers like Spinoza, Kant, Nietzsche, Hadot, and Foucault in their thinking about self-cultivation. The…

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Britt Lorraine’s “Panopticon” Exhibition Formed Over 15 Years, Opens This Weekend | ArtSlut,, May 17, 2018

Free, Sat May 19, 7-10pm (on view through June 23 with additional performances to be announced), Sala Diaz, 517 Stieren St., San Antonio, Texas, USA (210) 972) 900-0047,

One of 19 local artists featured in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s current exhibition “Right Here Right Now: San Antonio,” Lorraine’s latest endeavor takes shape in the solo show “Panopticon.” Prefaced by a text French philosopher Michel Foucault penned about the panoptic mechanism — essentially a strategically designed prison complex in which all inmates are visible at all times — the project arose from an image that popped into Lorraine’s head and stuck.

Hamilton, S.
The measure of all things? The Anthropocene as a global biopolitics of carbon
(2018) European Journal of International Relations, 24 (1), pp. 33-57.

DOI: 10.1177/1354066116683831

We are now told to welcome ourselves to the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch where humanity is ‘literally making’ the planet (Dalby, 2014). Yet, the underlying philosophical foundations of this human-made epoch remain relatively unexplored. This article makes a new contribution by problematizing the Anthropocene using the philosophies of Arendt, Foucault and Heidegger. It argues that the Anthropocene is a new and global form of biopolitics that asserts the essence of all (human) life and industry — the carbon atom — as the measure and centre of everything. When Nature is pre-reflectively projected, quantified and conceived as a calculable and carbonic human construction, then every thinkable object becomes related back to the human as its creator and steward. This is argued by tracing the entwining of computerized general circulation models, nuclear technologies and Earth system science, as well as by critiquing applicationist uses of biopolitics and governmentality in International Relations. What emerges in the Anthropocene, therefore, is an implicit yet powerful form of subjectivism ranging from atomic to global scales, or what is defined here as ‘relationality’. Echoing Heidegger (1977a: 27), in the Anthropocene, ‘It seems as though man everywhere and always encounters only himself’. Welcome, Anthropos, not to an epoch you are making, but to your new global biopolitics of carbon.

Author Keywords
Anthropocene; biopolitics; carbon; Earth system science; nature; subjectivism

Denise Mifsud, Professional Identities in Initial Teacher Education – The Narratives and Questions of Teacher Agency, Palgrave Macmillan,2018

discount flyer

This book explores the perception, construction and performance of professional identities in initial teacher education (ITE). Drawn from a collection of narrative data from postgraduate students, the author explores these topics through school placement, career choice motivations, the attractiveness of the teaching profession, the presentation of personal and professional selves, and professional standards. The findings of this study can be applied across both European and global dimensions. The use of narrative methodology for data collection, in addition to the implementation of various theoretical frameworks, ensures that the book holds a wide appeal. Interweaving theory with personal experiences, this reflective book will appeal to students and scholars of ITE, as well as early career researchers and practitioners.

Denise Mifsud is the Gozo College Principal within the Ministry for Education and Employment, Malta, and an independent education researcher and consultant. She is also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Understanding Foucault, Understanding Modernism (Understanding Philosophy, Understanding Modernism) Edited by David Scott: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017

Michel Foucault continues to be regarded as one of the most essential thinkers of the twentieth century. A brilliantly evocative writer and conceptual creator, his influence is clearly discernible today across nearly every discipline-philosophy and history, certainly, as well as literary and critical theory, religious and social studies, and the arts. This volume exploits Foucault’s insistent blurring of the self-imposed limits formed by the disciplines, with each author in this volume discovering in Foucault’s work a model useful for challenging not only these divisions but developing a more fundamental interrogation of modernism. Foucault himself saw the calling into question of modernism to be the permanent task of his life’s work, thereby opening a path for rethinking the social.

Understanding Foucault, Understanding Modernism shows, on the one hand, that literature and the arts play a fundamental structural role in Foucault’s works, while, on the other hand, it shifts to the foreground what it presumes to be motivating Foucault: the interrogation of the problem of modernism. To that end, even his most explicitly historical or strictly epistemological and methodological enquiries directly engage the problem of modernism through the works of writers and artists from de Sade, Mallarmé, Baudelaire to Artaud, Manet, Borges, Roussel, and Bataille. This volume, therefore, adopts a transdisciplinary approach, as a way to establish connections between Foucault’s thought and the aesthetic problems that emerge out of those specific literary and artistic works, methods, and styles designated “modern.” The aim of this volume is to provide a resource for students and scholars not only in the fields of literature and philosophy, but as well those interested in the intersections of art and intellectual history, religious studies, and critical theory.

Table of contents

Series Preface
List of AbbreviationsIntroduction: Foucault’s Modernisms
David Scott, Coppin State University, USA

Part 1. Conceptualizing Foucault 
1. The Origin of Parresia in Foucault’s Thinking: Truth and Freedom in The History of Madness
Leonard Lawlor and Daniel J. Palumbo, Penn State University, USA
2. The Secret of the Corpse-Language Machine: The Birth of the Clinic and Raymond Roussel
David Scott, Coppin State University, USA
3. Intersections of the Concept and Literature in TheOrder of Things: Foucault and Canguilhem
Samuel Talcott, University of the Sciences, USA
4. Archeology of Knowledge: Foucault and the Time of Discourse
Heath Massey, Beloit University, USA
5. Carceral, Capital, Power: The ‘Dark Side’ of the Enlightenment in Discipline and Punish
Christopher Penfield, Purdue University, USA
6. Foucault’s History of Sexuality
Chloë Taylor, University of Alberta, Canada

Part 2. Foucault and Aesthetics 

7. Technologies of Modernism: Historicism in Foucault and Dos Passos
Christopher Breu, Illinois State University, USA
8. Thought as Spirituality in Raymond Roussel
Ann Burlein, Hofstra University, USA
9. Life Escaping: Foucault, Vitalism, and Gertrude Stein’s Life-Writing
Sarah Posman, Ghent University, Belgium
10. The Specter of Manet: A Contribution to the Archaeology of Painting
Joseph Tanke, University of Hawaii, USA
11. The Hermaphroditic Image: Modern Art, Thought and Expérience in Michel Foucault
Nicole Ridgway, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Part 3. Glossary 
Heath Massey, Beloit College, USA
The “Author-Function”
Seth Forrest, Coppin State University, USA
Chloë Taylor, University of Alberta, Canada
Steve Tammelleo, University of San Diego, USA
Samuel Talcott, University of the Sciences, USA
Brad Elliot Stone, Loyola Marymount University, USA
Brad Elliot Stone, Loyola Marymount University, USA
Daniele Lorenzini, University Paris-Est Créteil, France
Janae Scholtz, Alvernia University, USA
Marc De Kesel, Saint Paul University, Canada
Mark Murphy, University of Glasgow, UK

Sivenbring, J.
Making Sense and Use of Assessments
(2018) Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, pp. 1-12. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2018.1434827

The present article is concerned with how Swedish students in the last year of comprehensive school make sense and use of educational assessments of their school performance. Based on interviews with 28 students in Year 9, “talk about assessments” is analysed using a discourse analytical approach inspired by Michel Foucault’s theories. The study shows that students find it difficult to both understand and make use of the assessments given by their teachers due to the overly complicated language. To receive the grades they need to apply for upper-secondary school, the students use other strategies to stand out and be perceived as “good students,” thus the assessment discourse is effective in the construction of adjustable subjects. © 2018 Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research

Author Keywords
assessment language; Assessments; equality; student perspective

UMP | University of Minnesota Press Blog: Foucault in the Contemporary Archive, December 2017

Professor of art history, visual art, and theory at the University of British Columbia

Last spring, I was in Paris as a Visiting Researcher at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, with a beautiful office just steps from the “old” Bibliotèque Nationale de France (BnF), newly renovated and now containing virtually the entire national collection of art books and manuscripts. I was given access to this unparalleled repository of materials on European art and culture and the privilege of a desk in the Salle Labrouste, memorable for its newly restored ironwork arches and painted landscape lunettes. It was in this reading room that Walter Benjamin had labored on the citations that he collected in The Arcades Project, writing, “nothing in the world can replace the Bibliothèque Nationale for me.” Foucault might have said the same. This place surely fulfilled the art historian’s desire for inspiration for a new research project.

Just before I left California in mid-March I had completed the copyediting of my new Minnesota book, Foucault on Painting. I thought I was prepared to begin a fresh research project concerned with “expressivity” in art over the long 20th century, a topic in which both Paris and the BnF play central roles. But unexpectedly and as it turned out, fortuitously, Foucault continued to occupy me.

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