Foucault News

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

Special Issue “Philosophical Genealogy from Nietzsche to Williams”

Genealogy is a broadly encompassing historiographical technique that investigates the emergences and subversions of trends over time. Philosophical genealogy is a species of genealogy that generally turns this technique upon trends in philosophical ideas, especially upon values, norms, and societal structures. Although there were important precursors, the progenitor of this technique is largely acknowledged to be Friedrich Nietzsche, whose Genealogie der Moral (1887) supplied a genealogical analysis of contemporary European values as they emerged out of the confluence and disruptions of a long history of competing power interests. Famously, Michel Foucault both interpreted Nietzsche’s essay and used it to progress beyond what he labeled the “archeological” character of his earlier histories of madness and the clinic. Foucault’s genealogical method highlights the inextricably contingent and accidental character of power transfigurations, in that it is set against more conventional historiography’s attempt to either explain historical change according to their material conditions or else find a rational plan within the progressive maturation of ideas, events, or values. Foucault’s Surveiller et punir (1975) and L’Histoire de la sexualité (1976) proceed to analyze the power and domination dynamics inherent in the emerging social instantiations of punishment and sexuality, respectively. From a different perspective, Bernard Williams’ Truth and Truthfulness (2004) employs a genealogical technique to uncover the development humanity’s value for accuracy and sincerity out of a suspicion of being deceived and a reluctance to be considered naive. Williams’ project contributed significantly to contemporary social and virtue epistemology. 

This Special Issue of Genealogy seeks to examine and to put into critical cross-interrogation several philosophical accounts of genealogy. Including but not limited to the cluster of ideas introduced by Nietzsche, Foucault, and Williams, we invite papers that investigate the prospects and problems genealogy has as a philosophical technique within and beyond these thinkers. In addition, we welcome intersections with critical race theory, feminist theory, virtue epistemology, value theory, the philosophy of history, anthropology, and political philosophy—all broadly construed. Our hope is to offer a space for the exploration and critical engagement with philosophical genealogy through these various lenses, and to advance genealogy as a historiographical enterprise.

Prof. Dr. Anthony Jensen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

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