Foucault News

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

Cline, D.H.
Sensory Disorientation during Crisis: Foucault’s “Heterotopia” and the Plague in Ancient Athens (2022) Classical World, 115 (4), pp. 325-359.

DOI: 10.1353/clw.2022.0014

This article explores the sensory experience of being in Athens during the plague (430–426 bce). By approaching the ancient epidemic from a perspective of sensory archaeology, we discover that the intensity of suffering caused by the two-pronged calamity of overcrowding inside the city walls plus the plague was likely exacerbated by unexpected sensory stimuli in once-familiar places (Foucault’s “heterotopia”), thereby causing a profound sense of disorientation for the inhabitants. The calamity transposed Athenian pleasure gardens, monument-lined streets, and sanctuaries from places of delight into a heterotopia of decay and death. © 2022 Johns Hopkins University Press. All rights reserved.

Author Keywords
Athens; crisis; disorientation; elite; epidemic; Foucault; Greece; plague; plague; senses; sensory

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