Papastephanou, M. Of(f) Course: Michel Foucault, the Mobile Philosopher and his Dreamworlds (2019) Critical Horizons, Article in Press.
Foucault extolled the Iranian revolution and, anticipating the havoc that his public intervention in favour of the revolution would create, he wrote: “I can already hear the French laughing, but I know that they are wrong”. Examining Foucault’s (so unlikely) valorisation of certainty and the partisan affectivity it bestows upon knowledge and truth, I read his unusual engagement with the Iranian revolution against the grain. A major tendency is to approach Foucault’s Iranian writings as aberration; against this tendency, I read them as an effect of Foucault’s specific epistemic and utopian optics. Through a critical reading of neglected aspects of Foucault’s comments on Iran, I argue that much nuance is missing when damning critiques fail to see why and how Foucault’s interest in an active rather than folklore non-European political identity unveils deeper tensions of his own worldview and outlook on international politics and interrogates mainstream appraisals of Foucault’s political philosophy. © 2019, © Critical Horizons Pty Ltd 2019.
history; Iranian revolution; knowledge; modernisation; parrhesia; utopia