Michel Foucault remains one of the most frequently cited authors within the humanities with an indelible influence on the discipline of anthropology. This course will cover the major periods and focal points of Foucault's oeuvre and track its influence on different strands within anthropology, both in their enthusiastic uptake but also in their critical reflection. It will follow the conventional tripartite division: (1) Until the late 60s, Foucault developed his archaeological method of historiographic-philosophical enquiry focusing on epistemic breaks that exposed changes in scientific discourse and in their conditions of truth. He developed his theory of discourse and the governance of linguistic statements, while exploring how man became an object of knowledge and the scientist a reflexive producer of knowledge. Together with the later focus on power/knowledge, this proved influential within anthropology's reflexive turn in which questions of representation and scientific authority played a central role. (2) During the 1970s, Foucault's focus shifted to 'geneaolgy', implying a 'history of the present'. Departing from his work on transformation of the penal system, he developed an interest in discipline as a historical form of power aimed at the production and control of subjects. His thinking increasingly focused on the, for him, inseparable relation between knowledge and power. He proposed to understand power as relational and productive, and not negative and repressive, which had dominated thinking on power until then. The idea of biopolitics, referring to the management of human life processes at the level of individual bodies and the population at large, as well as its related notion of governmentality, have been enthusiastically taken up within anthropological studies of power. (3) Towards the end of his life, Foucault turned his attention to ethics as a question of the care of the self, bringing subjectivity more concretely into view through its focus on how subjects produce themselves via a relation to truth. This has informed much recent anthropological work on processes of subject-formation as an ethical practice. This course will thus read Foucault together with the application of his thoughts within anthropological studies on power, governmentality, biopolitics, ethics, and others, but it will also show how anthropology in particular questioned and critiqued Foucault's work from a perspective of studies on colonialism and gender.
M. Foucault - The Order of Things, The Archaeology of Knowledge, Discipline and Punish, History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge, Society Must be Defended, History of Sexuality Vol II and III; P. Bourdieu - Language and Symbolic Power; J. Comaroff & J. Comaroff - Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance; J.X. Inda - Anthropologies of Modernity: Foucault, Governmentality, and Life Politics; A. Gupta & J. Ferguson - Beyond 'Culture': Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference; G. Marcus & M. Fischer - Anthropology as Cultural Critique; N. Rose - Governing the Soul; P. Rabinow & N. Rose - Biopower Today; P. Rabinow - Anthropos Today, Marking Time: On the Anthropology of the Contemporary; A. Petryna - Life Exposed; A. Ong & S. Collier - Global Assemblages: Technology, Power and Ethics as Anthropological Problems; S. Collier - Vital Systems Security: Reflexive Biopolitics and the Government of Emergency; D. Fassin - Humanitarian Reason, Prison Worlds; J. Faubion & G. Marcus - An Anthropology of Ethics; A.L. Stoler - Race and the Education and Desire; H. Moore - The Subject of Anthropology; S. Mahmood - Politics of Piety.