Marnia Lazreg, Foucault’s Orient: The Conundrum of Cultural Difference, From Tunisia to Japan – now out with Berghahn. Looks fascinating, and the use of archives and interviews should make this revealing. The Introduction is available online and has some interesting, though not unproblematic, claims. But the price for the book! £92 or $130…
Foucault lived in Tunisia for two years and travelled to Japan and Iran more than once. Yet throughout his critical scholarship, he insisted that the cultures of the “Orient” constitute the “limit” of Western rationality. Using archival research supplemented by interviews with key scholars in Tunisia, Japan and France, this book examines the philosophical sources, evolution as well as contradictions of Foucault’s experience with non-Western cultures. Beyond tracing Foucault’s journey into the world of otherness, the book reveals the personal, political as well as methodological effects of a radical conception of cultural difference that extolled the local over the cosmopolitan.
“This is a serious and pivotal book that shows the limits of Foucault’s rejection of universalism and humanism. Lazreg’s book allows us to re-read Foucault within his boundaries.” · Massimiliano Tomba, University of Padua.
Chapter 1. The Chinese Encyclopedia and the Challenge of Difference
Chapter 2. Madness and Cultural Difference
Chapter 3. Foucault and Kant’s Cosmopolitan Anthropology
Chapter 4. Foucault’s Negative Anthropology
Chapter 5. Foucault’s Anthropology of the Iranian Revolution
Chapter 6. The Heterotopia of Tunisia
Chapter 7. The Enigma of Japan
Chapter 8. Japan and Foucault’s Anthropological Bind