Foucault News

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

Date: May 30, 2014

Location: Stanford University Humanities Center

Talk Title: Paul Rabinow “Contemporary Inquiry: Ecologies of Assemblages”

Abstract: How should one conduct inquiry—today—into problems of broad scope and historical depth? How should one give form to participant-observation into problem spaces in which the specific site must be understood to be connected with multiple other sites and formations? In sum, how should one conduct contemporary inquiry?

In this keynote address, Paul Rabinow will argue that traditional modes of comparison have assumed that the parameters of comparison are known and/or stable. It follows that given that inquiry is focused on specific cases or examples. However, whilst terms such as culture or society or politics or history have functioned as the stable comparison units in the past (and continue to do so in much of the social sciences today), their status has come under sustained scrutiny in recent decades.

The challenge, then, is to conceptualize, narrate and give form to a mode of inquiry that would bring together diverse cases by Rabinow and his students and collaborators, such as: post-genomic forays into designing living organisms and systems; emergent forms of curatorial practices in the trans-national art market; the rise of right wing Hindu nationalist movements in India and the politics and representation of the border disputes in South Sudan. New modes of contemporary inquiry require conceptual innovation as well as a remediated practice of participant-observation that confronts and values the singularity of dimensions of such cases whilst refusing to abandon more general claims.

See more information at the

Sponsored by: The Stanford Europe Center, Stanford Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, and the Stanford Humanities Center.

4 thoughts on “Paul Rabinow “Contemporary Inquiry: Ecologies of Assemblages” (2014)

  1. ekosiasa says:

    Reblogged this on EKOSIASA and commented:
    Reblogged from Clare O’Farrell’s ‘Foucault News’…

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