BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking – ‘Foucault: The History of Sexuality, Volume 4‘ – Shahidha Bari with Lisa Downing, Stuart Elden, and Stephen Shapiro, 25 February 2021, 10pm (and new available online)
On the day the final volume of The History of Sexuality is published in English, over 36 years after Foucault’s death in 1984, Shahidha Bari and her panel assess its influence.
Shahidha Bari is joined by Lisa Downing, Stuart Elden, and Stephen Shapiro to look volume 4 of Foucault’s History of Sexuality at, translated into English for the first time, which examines beliefs and practices among the early Christians in Medieval Europe. Although he had specified in his will that his works shouldn’t be published after he died (in 1984), the rights holders of Foucault decided that these ideas could now be made public. So what do they tell us and how influential has his…
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this was good but left me wondering do you think (as was stated in the podcast) that Foucault saw himself as offering tools for others to take up rather than writing something approaching more encyclopedic accounts/histories?
I think both probably. He said that he thought his work was about providing approaches or tools for others to use; but that he and others saw his works on madness, sexuality, punishment and so on were valuable accounts. In Foucault: The Birth of Power I discuss this a bit, noting that while today it is often the concepts Foucault used which are utlised, at the time he was writing it was sometimes the surprising topics he chose that had most impact.
thanks SE, in a recent interview about her covid interrupted seminar on Foucault Preciado took a bit of a shot at him along the lines of can you imagine writing a history of sexuality that doesn’t account for race and colonialism and I was thinking given the heterogeneities involved I can’t really imagine anyone still reaching for encyclopedic accounts, in this sense I think that Rabinow’s work after Foucault picks up rightly on the “tool” end and leaves behind the Historical.