Off to Maynooth and Dublin – talks on Terrain, publishing and Foucault

Foucault in Ireland 1-01It’s a little difficult to treat today as just another day, after the events in London yesterday, but I’m just about to head to Ireland for a couple of events.

This evening at 4pm I’ll be giving a talk entitled “Terrain: The Materiality of Territory” to the Department of Geography seminar, at the National University Ireland, Maynooth. I will also be participating in a discussion about publishing over lunch that same day with postgraduate students. My seminar is a version of the talk I’ve given over the last few months in Gießen, Durham, London, and Oslo.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking part in the Foucault in Ireland event at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. It begins with a roundtable on my two recent Foucault books, and is followed by a  workshop with a wide range of papers on Foucault and the use of tools from his work.

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This entry was posted in Foucault's Last Decade, Foucault: The Birth of Power, Michel Foucault, Publishing, terrain, Territory, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Off to Maynooth and Dublin – talks on Terrain, publishing and Foucault

  1. Bryn Merrill says:

    Thank you for having taken the time to answer my question about sovereignty. I was intrigued by your “lapsed heideggerian” comment, I shall endeavor to read your articles on Heidegger. In his Vincennes lectures on Foucault, Deleuze quotes a beautiful passage from Melville relating to archaeology : « Il y avait encore des millions et des millions de choses qui ne s’étaient pas révélées à Pierre. La vieille momie est enfouie sous de multiples bandelettes. Il faut du temps pour démailloter ce roi égyptien. Parce que Pierre commençait à percer du regard la première couche superficielle du monde, il s’imaginait dans sa folie qu’il avait atteint à la substance non-stratifiée. Mais si loin que les géologues soient descendus dans les profondeurs de la terre, ils n’ont trouvé que strate sur strate car jusqu’à son axe le monde n’est que surfaces superposées. Et au prix d’immenses efforts, nous nous frayons une voie souterraine dans la pyramide, au prix d’horribles tâtonnements, nous parvenons à la chambre centrale ; à notre grande joie, nous découvrons le sarcophage ; nous levons le couvercle et… il n’y a personne ! L’âme de l’homme est un vide immense et terrifiant. » The strata – for Deleuze in any case – being the historical formations, constituted by the combination of “le visible et l’énonçable”, hence the identity “du savoir et de la formation historique” manifested in “l’archive”. I mention it because as foucauldian as such a paragraph may perhaps be, it seems to me quite heideggerian. On the one hand, you have a demythologized (no arche of being presenting itself as physis in pre-Socratic Greece ; no accelerationist eschaton in which being will diametrically turn) but fundamentally heideggerian conception of history as “errance”, as differential play, “mushrooms sprouting” without why (that is to say neither teleological nor dialectical, but rather “l’aventure séminale de la trace”). Since being is only ever the being-of a being, the history of being (or “l’histoire du sens”) is the history of beings, is history “tout court”. Heidegger’s Denken is not Hegel’s, it is not the though that reaches the “sarcophage” underneath the sendings of being, Denken is the hegelian “Vorstellung” that knows itself to be a “Vorstellung”. I believe Zizek would say something like ‘the Absolute Spirit is the Spirit that knows itself to be Finite’. This is why Derrida says that the thought of langage is a thought of finitude and metaphoricity. On the other hand, there are strata because there is “un vide immense et terrifiant” where the soul (“substance non-stratifiée”) would or should have been. There is history, there is time, there is being, because there is “un champ fini du sens” opened by finitude. Sartre would make this out to be a dialectical structure of “presence because absence”. I would rather say: it’s because Dasein’s being is under-determined that he can or rather must determine himself by relating himself to beings (étants). Contingent determinations only defer the meaning of the “vide”, but the contingent determinations are all that there is (there are only “surfaces superposées”). Thus Dasein “has its being to be”, it has never settled the question of existence, and so on and so forth. It has only ever given provisional, finite, contingent responses. Being is not a question without an answer but the empty set that never stops producing provisional constituted effects, which is of course is all that there is. I find the (Deleuze’s) Foucault/(Derrida’s) Heidegger comparison striking. Sorry, I’m rambling. Thanks again!

    • stuartelden says:

      It was good to meet you too Bryn. I’ve just written a longer response but lost it. Briefly, I think Heidegger is very important to Foucault (and Lefebvre) and I wrote on the links both had to him. My first book is on Heidegger/Foucault, the second on Lefebvre and inflected by Heidegger, and the third on Heidegger himself. I continue to believe Heidegger was important to Foucault, and now we have his reading notes to substantiate this. So I certainly think there is that Heideggerian trace.

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