The Early Foucault Update 28 – second half of the manuscript, Swiss archives and asylums

Term 1 is when I do most of my teaching, but I’ve been doing a little bit of work on my The Early Foucault manuscript most days. I’ve mainly been reworking the organisation of the second half of the text. Chapter 6 discusses the writing of History of Madness, mainly in Uppsala; Chapter 7 the time in Warsaw and Hamburg, with the work on the Kant translation and introduction; Chapter 8 the defence of the theses, publishing the History of Madness and its initial reception. The concluding chapter discusses the revision of Maladie mentale et personnalité into Maladie mentale et psychologie in 1962, and the abridgment of History of Madness in 1964 for the 10/18 series. It also points towards themes that Foucault would work on in the 1960s, which will be the topic of my planned fourth book in this series.

Foucault’s thesis defence is interesting. The notes he used for his short presentations of the two theses are in the Paris archive, and Didier Eribon reproduces the formal report and some of Henri Gouhier’s notes from the defence itself in his biography, with most detail in the revised third edition. This discussion works better now that I have a clearer account of the Kant thesis. I’ve seen the introduction part of that thesis in a couple of archives (rather than just the published version), but not the thesis version of the translation (as opposed to the 1964 publication). The two partts of the thesis are at the Sorbonne, and I’ve recently discovered another copy is elsewhere in Paris. Hopefully I’ll get to look at them later this year.

Chapter 6 needs the most work, and I plan to do more with this in Uppsala next year. I have begun working through the published History of Madness again, and working out what I want to say about it here. Initially I’ve been working on the 1961 and 1972 prefaces (and the abbreviated 1964 version). I’d long liked the 1961 text, but there is a nice phrase in the 1972 one which I’d sort of glossed over before about the book as produced is “a miniscule event, an object that fits into the hand”, and how Foucault hopes that his book might be just the sentences that make it up. I’m trying to do something about how what I’m doing in this book works backwards from that point. Chapter 5, on Foucault’s reading of Nietzsche and Heidegger also needs some reworking and addition – much of that needs to be done in Paris.

I’ve also been tracking some of the harder to find sources for this period. As well as some visits to the British Library, this has included a trip to the Bodleian library in Oxford to consult the University of Hamburg’s teaching records for the time Foucault was there. While I might go to Hamburg at some point, the Bodleian is the only UK library that seems to have a copy. There are almost no traces of lecture material from Uppsala, Warsaw or Hamburg in his own archive, so working out what Foucault did needs to be on the basis of reports elsewhere. These include newspapers announcing lectures, the course catalogues for universities at which he taught, and memoirs from people who attended. Eribon and Macey do a lot of this work, but I think a little more can be established.

I’ve also updated the chronology of audio and video recordings of Foucault online

Kreuzlingen asylum 10 with couch.jpg

Part of Ludwig Binswanger’s old asylum in Kreuzlingen, metres from the Swiss-German border

In reading week I went to Switzerland for a few days on the trail of papers by some of the people Foucault knew in the mid-1950s. Because I wanted to go to both Berne and the north of the country, I stayed in Zürich. While I made the trip for the archives, I had a bit of time there when they were closed so I went to Kreuzlingen and Münsterlingen, where Ludwig Binswanger and Roland Kuhn ran psychiatric hospitals. Foucault visited them in 1954 – the Foucault à Münsterlingen collection has a lot of detail about this. But it was good to see what was left – not so much of Binswanger’s workplace in Kreuzlingen, although a couple of key buildings remain; but there is a lot of the Münsterlingen hospital still there. It’s still used as a hospital, in an impressive setting on the shores of the Bodensee/Lake Constance. Kuhn’s papers are in Frauenfeld, not far from Kreuzlingen, and Binswanger’s are in Tübingen. I got to see Kuhn’s papers on this trip, and I will look at Binswanger’s soon.

Some of these visits involve checking things referenced by others, where I would prefer to see the original rather than just follow someone else’s reference. But others are through a bit of pro-active work – contacting various archives and finding out what they have, and then sometimes negotiating access. Some things are restricted, but I’ve usually been able to get to see things I need.

Such visits are always worthwhile – either to find the text someone else has referenced, or to see what remains of something I’m actively looking for, or to be surprised. One text I was hoping to find only exists in a German translation, even though the catalogue entry was in French, but that’s certainly better than nothing; another non-descript file that I was checking for completeness sake turned out to have a typescript of something I’d thought no longer existed. Other things triggered thoughts of other places to look – even discovering Warwick had a copy of something I might never have otherwise checked, but which has an interesting nugget of information.

I’m continually struck by how some claims become engrained in the secondary literature, but on checking all ultimately derive from a single source which may or may not be accurate. But repetition means that it appears common knowledge, and challenging it becomes ever more difficult with the passing of time. This, and much else, is not helped by people not citing sources, or claiming that they’ve consulted a primary text or document when really they have only seen it cited elsewhere. Little repeated errors in references are often a giveaway for this.

At the end of reading week I headed off to Wales to a remote place with no Wi-Fi, barely a phone signal and lots of hills. I had a couple of days of cycling and writing – I was much more focused without any form of contact with the outside world. The initial irritation of not being immediately able to check a reference online or find a library that had something soon fell away, and instead I made lists of things to check later and got down to writing, cutting and reorganising. I’m now much happier with the second half of the text.

I’ll be speaking about some of this work in Warwick and Oxford in 2020. I’m also planning some future archive visits – Paris in December, Germany in January, and then hopefully Uppsala, the United States and France again.

The previous updates on this project are here; and the previous books Foucault’s Last Decade and Foucault: The Birth of Power available from Polity. The related book Canguilhem came out earlier this year, and is discussed a bit more here. Several Foucault research resources such as bibliographies, short translations, textual comparisons and so on, produced while doing the work for these books, are available here.

Posted in Ludwig Binswanger, Michel Foucault, The Early Foucault, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Books received – Sartre, Mbembe, Guedez, Lefebvre, Gil, Eiland and Jennings

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Sartre’s Search for a Method and two books by Achille Mbembe for teaching; Annie Guédez’s early study of Foucault, which relates him to psychology; the new edition of Lefebvre’s Rhythmanlaysis; and two biographies – Marie Gil on Roland Barthes and Howard Eiland and Michael Jennings on Walter Benjamin.

Posted in Achille Mbembe, Henri Lefebvre, Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Uncategorized, Walter Benjamin | Leave a comment

Christiansen and Gebauer (eds.), Rhythms Now: Henri Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis Revisited – Aaborg University Press, 2019 (open access)

Steen Ledet Christiansen and Mirjam Gebauer (eds.), Henri Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis Revisited – Aaborg University Press, 2019 (open accessUntitled)

Rhythms abound today, in a time where all manner of rhythms intersect and amplify each other. Rhythmanalysis enables us to discuss lived experience, both in terms of the constraints of contemporary society, but also the affordances (social, techno- logical, cultural) that we all have access to, in different ways. By focusing on rhythms, we recognize how multiple, different forms inform both our experience but also culture and society as a whole. Rhythmanalysis allows for close attention to the parti- cularities of each rhythm, while also recognizing the combined effect. In this way, rhythmanalysis can be seen as an productive supplement of constructivist thought, thus illuminating critical theory, poststructuralism, and most other branches of cultural theory.

Revisiting, discussing and revising Henry Lefebvre’s rhythm- analysis, this volume thus contributes to rhythmanalysis by out- lining a methodology for others to adapt, while at the same time providing specific instances of how rhythmanalysis can work as an analytic tool, but also shows how rhythms manifest in a multitude of ways.

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Clara Oloriz, Landscape as Territory – Book Launch, 20 November 2019, Architectural Association bookshop, London

Clara Oloriz, Landscape as Territory – Book Launch

6.30pm, 20 November 2019, Architectural Association bookshop, London


The Landscape as Territory Book was awarded an AA fellowship and a Graham Foundation Grant for its edition, writing & publication. Published by Actar.

Landscape as territory addresses the question of how we might think and design landscapes from the perspective of territory. In the process, it draws upon and interweaves theoretical contributions from geography, architecture, landscape, art, history and critical theory, together with reflections on selected cartographic projects produced within the Landscape Urbanism master’s programme at the Architectural Association (AALU) from 2013 to 2018. The cartographic images presented here are not employed as illustrations of theory, but as deviations from or navigations of certain concepts and their historical iterations. It is structured so as to explore the resonances and reverberations between practice and theory. It aims, through this, towards a form of design praxis of landscape.

Join us for a drinks reception with Clara Oloriz introduced by the Director of Landscape Urbanism at the AA Jose Alfredo Ramirez to celebrate the launch of this great new publication.

Launch Price £30 RRP £35

All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.


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Irus Braverman and Elizabeth R. Johnson (eds.),Blue Legalities: The Life and Laws of the Sea – Duke University Press, 2019

Irus Braverman and Elizabeth R. Johnson (eds.), Blue Legalities: The Life and Laws of the Sea – Duke University Press, 2019

The ocean and its inhabitants sketch and stretch our understandings of law in unexpected ways. Inspired by the blue turn in the social sciences and humanities, Blue Legalities explores how regulatory frameworks and governmental infrastructures are made, reworked, and contested in the oceans. Its interdisciplinary contributors analyze topics that range from militarization and Maori cosmologies to island building in the South China Sea and underwater robotics. Throughout, Blue Legalities illuminates the vast and unusual challenges associated with regulating the turbulent materialities and lives of the sea. Offering much more than an analysis of legal frameworks, the chapters in this volume show how the more-than-human ocean is central to the construction of terrestrial institutions and modes of governance. By thinking with the more-than-human ocean, Blue Legalities questions what we think we know—and what we don’t know—about oceans, our earthly planet, and ourselves.

Contributors. Stacy Alaimo, Amy Braun, Irus Braverman, Holly Jean Buck, Jennifer L. Gaynor, Stefan Helmreich, Elizabeth R. Johnson, Stephanie Jones, Zsofia Korosy, Berit Kristoffersen, Jessica Lehman, Astrida Neimanis, Susan Reid, Alison Rieser, Katherine G. Sammler, Astrid Schrader, Kristen L. Shake, Phil Steinberg

“Not a minute too early, the ‘blue turn’ finally takes pride of place in legal thinking. Blue Legalities balances the legal and the liquid in all their emanations. The contributions span from the oceanic depths of our planet to the glimmering surface of our limited comprehension, combining in an undeniably poetic whole, law, politics, science, anthropology, history, and philosophy amongst other epistemes. The feat of this book is diving headlong in the fathomless challenge of treating the material and the textual as one ontological ripple.” — Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, author of Spatial Justice: Body, Lawscape, Atmosphere

“Elisabeth Mann Borgese, one of the architects of the first Law of the Sea conference, argued that any approach to the ocean must be inherently interdisciplinary. Irus Braverman and Elizabeth R. Johnson have fulfilled this claim with a wonderful interdisciplinary collection. Plumbing the depths of human and more-than-human life and law at sea, this volume is a welcome and timely contribution to the field of critical ocean studies.” — Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey, author of Allegories of the Anthropocene


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Mark Usher, ‘Territory Incognita’, Progress in Human Geography

Mark Usher, ‘Territory Incognita’, Progress in Human Geography, (requires subscription)

Tracing the lineage of territorial theorization, from legal container through dialectical, strategic and rhizomatic interpretations, this paper contends that more-than-human aspects of territory have been routinely circumvented by scholars seeking to avoid its realist, imperialist intellectual past. However, with the crisis of representation in political theory precipitated by the planetary ecological crisis, territory as a material entity has sprung alive again. This paper proposes that a reinvigorated materialist approach, informed by Deleuze and Guattari’s writings on territorial assemblages as machinic, nomadic and affective, can offer a way out of the territorial trap, reclaiming nomos from its conservative, masculine heritage.

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Selection of De Gruyter eBooks, chapters and articles – free to read, download and share until November 30, 2019 (Nietzsche, de Beauvoir, aesthetics…)

Special collection of De Gruyter eBooks, book chapters and journal articles – free to read, download and share until November 30, 2019

Thanks to dmf for the link. Looks like you need to download the books chapter by chapter…


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Foucault audio and video recordings online – updated and links fixed

foucault1.jpgI’ve updated the chronology of audio and video recordings of Foucault online. There are some additional ones here, and I’ve tried to fix any broken links. Please let me know if any are broken – videos seem to disappear, especially from YouTube, and some online repositories change their links but don’t make it easy to find things in the new ordering.

The only one I think is missing a live link in this list is the interview with Umberto Eco and Enzo Melandri. If anyone has the link for this, I’d be grateful.

I’d also appreciate links for any that I haven’t spotted.

There are lots more Foucault resources on this site – bibliographies, audio and video files, some textual comparisons, some short translations, etc.

Posted in Michel Foucault, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Georges Canguilhem, Œuvres complètes Tome III – Vrin, November 2019

9782711623624.jpgGeorges Canguilhem, Œuvres complètes Tome IIIÉcrits d’histoire des sciences et d’épistémologie – Vrin, November 2019

This looks interesting, especially the variant texts alongside the published works, though given previous experience with these volumes, I’ll take the November date a little skeptically…

Ce troisième tome des Œuvres complètes, réunit trois ouvrages. Le premier, Du développement à l’évolution, est issu d’un séminaire de recherche de la fin des années 1950 : il offre l’exemple alors rare d’un travail d’équipe mené en commun jusqu’à la publication des résultats. Les deux autres ouvrages, les Études d’histoire et de philosophie des sciences et Idéologie et rationalité dans l’histoire des sciences de la vie, consacrèrent la réputation d’historien des sciences et d’épistémologue de Georges Canguilhem.
Cette nouvelle édition offre une mise en contexte de chacun de ces écrits, en y adjoignant de nombreuses variantes et d’importants ajouts que Canguilhem avait destinés à la publication mais qui, par accident, restèrent inédits.
Tous ces travaux confirment l’originalité de la mise en œuvre par Canguilhem de l’épistémologie historique, qu’il définit comme la déontologie d’une histoire critique des sciences. Leur lecture corrobore la fécondité de ses contributions conceptuelles propres et le caractère pénétrant de ses analyses.
Textes édités, introduits et annotés par Camille Limoges.
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Ian James, The Technique of Thought: Nancy, Laruelle, Malabou, and Stiegler after Naturalism, University of Minnesota Press, 2019 – reviewed at NDPR by Samuel Talcott

image.jpgIan James, The Technique of Thought: Nancy, Laruelle, Malabou, and Stiegler after Naturalism, University of Minnesota Press, 2019 – reviewed at NDPR by Samuel Talcott

Here’s the publisher description:

The Technique of Thought explores the relationship between philosophy and science as articulated in the work of four contemporary French thinkers—Jean-Luc Nancy, François Laruelle, Catherine Malabou, and Bernard Stiegler. Situating their writings within both contemporary scientific debates and the philosophy of science, Ian James elaborates a philosophical naturalism that is notably distinct from the Anglo-American tradition. The naturalism James proposes also diverges decisively from the ways in which continental philosophy has previously engaged with the sciences. He explores the technical procedures and discursive methods used by each of the four thinkers as distinct “techniques of thought” that approach scientific understanding and knowledge experimentally.

Moving beyond debates about the constructed nature of scientific knowledge, The Technique of Thought argues for a strong, variably configured, and entirely novel scientific realism. By bringing together post-phenomenological perspectives concerning individual or collective consciousness and first-person qualitative experience with science’s focus on objective and third-person quantitative knowledge, James tracks the emergence of a new image of the sciences and of scientific practice.

Stripped of aspirations toward total mastery of the universe or a “grand theory of everything,” this renewed scientific worldview, along with the simultaneous reconfiguration of philosophy’s relationship to science, opens up new ways of interrogating immanent reality.

Posted in Bernard Stiegler, Catherine Malabou, Georges Canguilhem, Jean-Luc Nancy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment