Books received – Hollier, Bataille, Monk, Coleman & Agnew, Wahl


Denis Hollier, Le Collège de Sociologie; Georges Bataille, Choix de Lettres, 1917-1962; the first volume of Ray Monk’s life of Bertrand Russell, the new Theory, Culture & Society, the Handbook on the Geographies of Power, edited by Mat Coleman and John Agnew, and awahl lecture course by Jean Wahl. Most relate to the Foucault work, and were bought second-hand, though the Handbook is for review.


Posted in Georges Bataille, John Agnew, Michel Foucault, The Early Foucault, Theory, Culture and Society, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nancy Luxon (ed.), Archives of Infamy: Foucault on State Power in the Lives of Ordinary Citizens – U Minnesota Press, 2019

imageNancy Luxon (ed.), Archives of Infamy: Foucault on State Power in the Lives of Ordinary Citizens – University of Minnesota Press, 2019

Expanding the insights of Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault’s Disorderly Families into policing, public order, (in)justice, and daily life

What might it mean for ordinary people to intervene in the circulation of power between police and the streets, sovereigns and their subjects? How did the police come to understand themselves as responsible for the circulation of people as much as things—and to separate law and justice from the maintenance of a newly emergent civil order? These are among the many questions addressed in the interpretive essays in Archives of Infamy.

Crisscrossing the Atlantic to bring together unpublished radio broadcasts, book reviews, and essays by historians, geographers, and political theorists, Archives of Infamy provides historical and archival contexts to the translation of Disorderly Families by Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault. This volume includes new translations of key texts, including a radio address Foucault gave in 1983 that explains the writing process for Disorderly Families; two essays by Foucault not readily available in English; and a previously untranslated essay by Farge that describes how historians have appropriated Foucault.

Archives of Infamy pushes past old debates between philosophers and historians to offer a new perspective on the crystallization of ideas—of the family, gender relations, and political power—into social relationships and the regimes of power they engender.

I have a piece in this entitled ‘Home, Street, City: Farge, Foucault and the Spaces of the Lettres de cachet‘ – preprint available here.

Posted in Arlette Farge, Michel Foucault, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CFP: Political Matters: Spatial Thinking of the Alternative – 18-19 July 2019, Auckland, NZ


Interstices Under Construction Symposium:

18 – 19th July 2019, Auckland, New Zealand

University of Auckland & Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Abstracts will be assessed by an academic committee appointed by the symposium organisers and then be subject to a double blind review process. Accepted abstracts will be published on the Interstices website: Deadline 25 January 2019.

The symposium will be followed by a call for papers on the same topic for Issue 21 of Interstices: Journal of Architecture and Related Arts. The deadline for submission of 5000 words papers for issue 20 of Interstices will be, subject to review, on 1st October 2019, with the estimated publication in February 2020. For Journal’s submission guidelines see:


Professor Felicity Scott, GSAPP Columbia University, U.S.
Professor Ian Buchanan, University of Wollongong, Australia.
Bernard Khoury/DW5, Architect, Lebanon (TBC).


Farzaneh Haghighi, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Nikolina Bobic, University of Plymouth, UK.
Andrew Douglas and Sue Hedges, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.

For more see:

Image credit: Photo and design by Nikolina Bobic

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Foucault at Warwick – seminar on 13 November 2018 with Miguel de Beistegui, Claudia Stein, Daniele Lorenzini, Claire Blencoe and Federico Testa

Foucault at Warwick – seminar on 13 November 2018 with Miguel de Beistegui, Claudia Stein, Daniele Lorenzini and Claire Blencoe. Unfortunately this clashes with my MA class, so I’ll only be there for the first few minutes.

foucault at warwick.jpg

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David Harvey with Laura Flanders, lecture and discussion, October 2018

David Harvey with Laura Flanders – via



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Adrian Ivakhiv on Bruno Latour, Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime (and the New York Times piece)

LatourAdrian Ivakhiv on Bruno Latour, Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime at his Immanence blog – Latour’s Terrestrial Project.

Adrian links to The New York Times piece on Latour, which I should have linked to earlier.


Posted in Bruno Latour, terrain, Territory, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Programme announced – 3rd International Conference for Carceral Geography

Carceral Geography conference, Liverpool, 17-18 December 2018

carceral geography

The programme for the 3rd International Conference for Carceral Geography, to be held at the University Liverpool, 17-18 December 2018, has been finalised, and is available here.

Registration for the conference is open via this online shop. Registration is free, and there are payable items of day catering and a conference dinner which can be optionally added. The last date for conference registration is 7th December 2018.

The conference theme of “counterpoints and counter-intuition” is intended encourage both a diversity of perspectives on the carceral, and to stimulate discussion of that which is or was unanticipated, had been unimagined, or was unforeseen.


We are delighted that Professor Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham) and Professor Chris Philo (University of Glasgow) will be joining us as keynote speakers at the conference. The conference will feature 8 paper sessions, with 29 papers from 39 authors from across the…

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Conferencing the International: Spaces of Modern Internationalism – 18-19 Dec 2018, Royal Geographical Society, London

Conferencing the International Programme.jpgConferencing the International: Spaces of Modern Internationalism

18-19 December 2018, Royal Geographical Society, London

Over two days at the RGS, an interdisciplinary selection of expert speakers will discuss the nature of international conferences and the role that conferences have played – and continue to play – in shaping our understandings of modern internationalism. For the full programme, please see the link on the Eventbrite page (below).

The conference is free and open to all, but places are limited so advance registration is recommended:



Twitter: @InterwarConf

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‘Émergence des equipment collectifs’ – a previously unpublished 1974 essay by Foucault, published online with introduction by Philippe Chevallier

An unpublished piece by Foucault from 1974, “Émergence des equipment collectifs“, has recently been discovered and published online by Ici et Ailleurs, with an Introduction by Philippe Chevallier.

Philippe kindly sent me the essay a few days before publication, as it explicitly links to the work Foucault did with Guattari’s CERFI group – a link I’ve discussed in my books on Foucault. I’ve previously discussed the importance of Foucault’s collaborative projects on this site, and put together a bibliography of references, which can be found here. I’ve just added this essay.

With Philippe’s agreement and encouragement, I’m sharing below the brief note I sent him. there is more to be said about its content and connections, of course, and we hope that readers will follow up with comments on the Ici et ailleurs site:

Dear Philippe

My apologies for taking this time to have a chance to read it. It’s been a very busy start of term.
It’s an interesting text, though not especially new to people who have read Surveiller et punir, the CERFI reports and related materials. I think your introduction is very helpful, and I’m grateful you mentioned my two books in the revised version. I especially used the IMEC archive to situate the published materials in relation to the overall shape of the project. My books give all the details of the things that I found. I’d be happy to send you copies of both if they’d be of interest – either e-copies for you to consult now, or physical copies of the books if you can wait a little while. It would be a pleasure to share them.
The IMEC material is important, though I am fairly sure that this text is not found there. I did the research with the CERFI material many years ago, when the IMEC collection was still in Paris, though I have been back since it moved to Caen, to look at other material. One thing that seemed important to me, and might be worth mentioning in your Introduction, is that there was an important link between the work done in the CERFI projects and the Collège de France seminar. You indicate this in a note, but it might be more prominent. Once the Pierre Rivière collection was finished, I think that there is an important overlap between Foucault’s seminar and some of the work he does with CERFI. The reports link to Les machines à guerir, as you say, which is certainly in part of a seminar project, and there is a link too to the Politiques de l’habitat collection Foucault directed. We know so little about what Foucault did in those seminars, beyond the paragraphs in the course summaries.
I think both of your hypotheses are correct – Foucault used his name to help get some funding, but i do also think that his seminar influenced his own writing. There are some important links between work that happened collaboratively and later lectures and writings.
The title obviously links it to the CERFI work, but I wonder how we’d read it without that title – it doesn’t say much about the notion of ‘equipment collectifs’, and many of its themes connect to works published just under Foucault’s own name. I also see some links to the Rio medicine lectures of 1974, as well as Surveiller et punir and the CERFI projects. 1974 makes a lot of sense as its date.
You already mention many of the pieces listed here, but a few years ago I made a bibliography of Foucault’s Collaborative Projects. It may be of interest
Thanks so much for sharing this with me. I’ll look forward to seeing it published and will certainly share links on my blog. Please do let me know when it’s available.
with very best wishes
Posted in Foucault's Last Decade, Foucault: The Birth of Power, Michel Foucault, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Early Foucault Update 21: Pushing Gravel Uphill


Just over two years ago, while I was having something to eat in Pasadena, before a conference on Early Modern Literary Geographies, I sketched out how a pair of books on Foucault’s work up until 1969 might look. I’ve been working on the earlier of the two books since, albeit with the detour of the Canguilhem study and the final work on Shakespearean Territories. Although The Early Foucault is far from finished, it’s come a long way in that time. The chapters have increased to nine and changed some of their arrangement, though it covers all of this and more, as I learn more about this period. Increasingly though I’m finding I’m gathering sources, making notes and thinking about the 1960s book.
The Early Foucault-Foucault in the 1960s

Term 1 is when I do most of my teaching, and the first half of the term is always the busiest time of year. Even though I tried to keep to a rhythm of writing a bit every day, or most days, I wasn’t able to manage this as often as I’d like. I’m teaching European Political Theory for the first time in years, and I am writing the lectures afresh. I also teach an MA module on Geopolitics Today, and although I have the framework for each lecture from previous years, I continually update material depending on what is in the news. There are also lots and lots of meetings, with PhD students, personal tutees, committees and so on. Add in the proofs and queries on the Canguilhem book, the talk at the Architectural Association, and some other things, including a grant application, and the time for research and writing has been limited. Writing during term feels a bit like completing a huge jigsaw a few pieces each day instead of a chunk at a time or, on bad days, like pushing gravel uphill. Even when I get to the British Library it’s often a fragmented day, with meetings or other work. But even a little bit each day or a few days a week adds up.

I did write up a very few thoughts on Foucault at the Movies, read an advance copy of the Foucault in California memoir by Simeon Wade, and began reading the new Foucault courses on sexuality. These all relate to later periods of Foucault’s life and work. I have however managed to do little things here and there in relation to The Early Foucault. Much of this began with looking into the work of Georges Bataille and the short-lived Acéphale journal (a little more about that here). That made me think I needed to know more about Bataille, so I read Michel Surya’s biography.

I also looked at a few books about the use of Nietzsche in France, both pre-World War II and afterwards. There are quite a lot of studies, both in English and French. This forms a context for Foucault’s own reading of the material, and the way in which Nietzsche was read and taught. Strangely, Henri Lefebvre’s 1939 book Nietzsche is largely absent from these accounts, despite being an important challenge to the fascist reading. That relates to both previous project of mine, the book on Lefebvre, and the next piece on Lefebvre I’ve agreed to write. I also spent a little time with the edition of Nietzsche’s work that Foucault used in the first half of his career. The Kritische Gesamtausgabe, edited by Colli and Montinari only began publication in 1967, and Foucault would initially be one of the editors for its French translation. But before this date he, like any other researcher, had to make use of the earlier, flawed editions. Aner Barzilay has been really helpful here, and elsewhere, in sharing his insights into Foucault’s early work with Nietzsche. It matters which edition Foucault used especially when looking at Nietzsche’s Nachlaß.

Among the other things I was looking into was La Table Ronde publishing house. Foucault signed a book contract with them in the mid-1950s for what he generally describes as a history of psychiatry. His work on this developed while he was in Uppsala, and it became the History of Madness, published by Plon. I did some work reading up about La Table Ronde, and there are some interesting things about it which may well find a way into my book. Their archives are at IMEC, which may be something to follow up on when next there. But it did feel that I was spending a lot of time learning about a publisher Foucault did not work with…

Another task took a wildly disproportionate amount of time in relation to its importance. It began with what seemed a pretty straight-forward question: when did Foucault join the editorial team of the journal Critique? David Macey reports that he was invited by Jean Piel when he became the editor, and this means it was after July 1962, because Piel took over when Georges Bataille, the journal’s founder, died. Jean Piel had been working with Bataille on the journal for a while, along with Eric Weil, though Weil stepped down in July 1962, the last issue Bataille edited. The journal had an editor – Bataille, and then Piel – a small ‘Conseil de Rédaction’, and a wider Comité. Foucault was part of the Conseil de Rédaction along with Roland Barthes and Michel Deguy. Warwick has an incomplete run of the journal, only beginning to have a sequence of issues from late 1963. Sometimes when libraries bind multiple issues of journals together, they remove the initial pages with the editorial information, so even though I could review all the issues in another library, this didn’t solve the issue. The British Library has one sequence of the journal, with 1961 and 1962 complete, and with the mastheads. But for the first half of 1963, they only have four of the six issues, unbound. Useful, but it transpires the missing two are the ones I need – Foucault is not part of the board in the last issue of 1962, and he’s there in the third issue of 1963. So, he clearly joined in early 1963, but is there some kind of announcement of the new team? The BL has another sequence of the journal under a different classmark, but like the first one I ordered, these take 48 hours to arrive. And since I can usually only get to the BL once or twice a week in this term, that means it was another week to wait. This did resolve the issue, but only to say he joined in January 1963 – no announcement or other information.

This might seem ridiculously pedantic. But by looking at this sequence of journals, I found a number of interesting things. These included Roland Barthes’s review of Histoire de la folie in late 1961; Foucault’s review of Jean Laplanche’s Hölderlin et la question du père in 1962 – his first publication in the journal; the notice of Bataille’s death; and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s essay on Roussel’s Oeuvres, which is also supposed to also be on Foucault’s Raymond Roussel, but fails to mention Foucault’s book. There is a double issue in tribute to Bataille in late 1963. Some of these pieces are anthologised elsewhere, but it’s often worth seeing the original place where something was published. Not relevant in this case, but sometimes original versions of publication have ephemeral information that is not reprinted in later versions – short author biographies, for example. But above all looking through these issues gives a sense of the intellectual community in the pages of this journal. It’s very self-referential, and a relatively closed group of contributors. The wider Comité has an extraordinary list of names – Raymond Aron, Maurice Blanchot, Fernand Braudel, René Char, Etienne Gilson, Julian Huxley, Alexandre Koyré, Lewis Mumford, Jean Wahl and others – but as far as I know, all male and all white. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see some of the first pieces by people like Foucault, Derrida and so on.

At some point I also need to check to see exactly when Derrida joins the team, and when Foucault leaves it. This is important for another aspect of the story. But that I should be able to do at Warwick next week, since they have a complete run from 1964 onwards. Hopefully they didn’t cut out the mastheads.

Next week is ‘reading week’, which for academics should perhaps be described as ‘writing week’. The task will be a short text as the introduction to a forthcoming translation. More details when the publisher announces it.

The previous updates on this project are here; and the earlier books Foucault’s Last Decade and Foucault: The Birth of Power are both available from Polity. Canguilhem is forthcoming in early 2019, and is discussed a bit more here. Several Foucault research resources such as bibliographies, short translations, textual comparisons and so on are available here.

Posted in Canguilhem, Georges Bataille, Georges Canguilhem, Michel Foucault, teaching, The Early Foucault, Uncategorized | 2 Comments