Now out in paperback
Foucault lived in Tunisia for two years and travelled to Japan and Iran more than once. Yet throughout his critical scholarship, he insisted that the cultures of the “Orient” constitute the “limit” of Western rationality. Using archival research supplemented by interviews with key scholars in Tunisia, Japan and France, this book examines the philosophical sources, evolution as well as contradictions of Foucault’s experience with non-Western cultures. Beyond tracing Foucault’s journey into the world of otherness, the book reveals the personal, political as well as methodological effects of a radical conception of cultural difference that extolled the local over the cosmopolitan.
Marnia Lazreg is professor of sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her latest publications include Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad (Princeton, 2008); and Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women (Princeton, 2009).