Foucault and Iran (and Ernst Bloch) – an August 1979 interview newly available in French

Thanks to a reader who wishes to remain anonymous for sending me these details of an interview with Foucault about Iran conducted in August 1979, which was first published in French in 2013.

PHOTO 3 N3DI’ve stumbled upon an interview with Foucault from this era that has up until recently remained completely uncommented by Foucault scholarship, unreferenced even in Afary-Anderson [Foucault and the Iranian Revolution – SE]. I have no doubt that you will find it interesting. The interview was conducted in August ’79 with Farès Sassine from the Paris paper An-Nahar al-`Arabi wa‘d-Duwali, in which extracts were published in ’79. translated into Arabic from the French. The original article, in Arabic, can be found here. It wasn’t until last year, however, that a full transcription of the interview in French was published in the somewhat obscure Revue Rodéo (no. 2) with an accompanying piece by Farès Sassine himself. This, also, alas, has been impossible for me to track down, but luckily, just this August, 35 years after the interview, Mr. Sassine posted the transcript on his blog along with some editorial remarks.

LETTRE 2I’ve found the interview to be very informative, and at least very pertinent to several contemporary discussions around the notion of political spirituality (which actually was inspired by Bloch’s Principle of Hope!), Foucault’s relationship the nouvelles philosophes, and perhaps (thereby) also a correction to the ongoing reframing of Foucault as a neoliberal in leftist clothing. It’s also a very pleasant read, seeing a very amicable atmosphere between the two, and a very welcoming Foucault, despite sickness and fatigue.

entretien JPEGThe whole interview in French can be read here.

This interview is significant for multiple reasons, not least because it postdates the other texts on this topic – I think the last one, before this, was ‘Inutile de se soulever [Is it useless to revolt]?’ published in Le monde on 11-12 May 1979. As well as the initial mention of Ernst Bloch, it also discusses some of his contemporaries and their work, and it’s also the only place I know where Foucault mentions Edward Said.

I’m very grateful for the details and the message, which is posted with permission. The images come from Farès Sassine’s commentary – clicking on each will take you to the page with the larger image.

This entry was posted in Edward Said, Michel Foucault, Politics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Foucault and Iran (and Ernst Bloch) – an August 1979 interview newly available in French

  1. Franz E. says:

    The iranian revolution was a transition from a authoritarian state to one very similar, religiosity facist state, like a culture revolution that makes a 180º turn against iranian culture. Foucault says that its very medieval since its a kind of revolution with the origin from the people. So, we have revolutions in one way, freedom. But, same times they end in another kind of authoritarian regime. And this very moment we feel it, in Europe, around the world. But this time, against democracy, the best we have towards freedom. Its true that most of the times the freedom its an illusion. http://fares-sassine.blogspot.fr/2014/08/entretien-inedit-avec-michel-foucault.html

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  3. Clare O'Farrell says:

    Reblogged this on Foucault News.

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