In May, 1969, three years after the publication of Les Mots et les Choses, and a year after the upheavals of May 1968, Foucault presided over a colloquium at the University of Paris’s Institute of the History of Sciences and Technologies celebrating the bicentennial of Georges Cuvier’s birth (1769-1832). I read this colloquium as part of my daily plunge into Dits et Écrits; Lynne Huffer has beautifully translated the presentation and proceedings for us in Foucault Studies (No. 22, pp. 208-237).
I wish for more time (of course)–time to reach back to The Order of Things and forward to “L’ordre du discours”, but I’ll settle for a short note on the status of the individual. The backdrop for me, here, is actually Marx, specifically the Marx of the Manifesto (1848) and the Eighteenth Brumaire (1852).
In turning to Cuvier, Foucault looks for the epistemological seeds of Darwin…
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