Books received – Spitzer, Foucault, RIPE, TCS, Binswanger

img_2146Foucault translated an essay in this Spitzer collection (see my query over dating here); the first edition of Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique; Binswanger’s analysis of Suzanne Urban; and the new issues of RIPE and TCS. This issue of TCS includes the discussion between Foucault and Jonathan Simon, which I edited for the journal (open access).

Posted in Jonathan Simon, Ludwig Binswanger, Michel Foucault, The Early Foucault, Theory, Culture and Society, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Early Foucault update 2 – Uppsala, Binswanger, Lacan and Bedlam

img_2144While I did take a proper break over Christmas and the New Year, I have been continuing work on the very early Foucault. One of the things I’ve done is some initial research on the time he spent in Uppsala. I’ve only visited Uppsala once before, to give a talk to the University’s Geography department, but I hope to go back at some point, perhaps even this year when I’ll be in Stockholm for a conference. While that will likely only be a brief visit, I’d like to spend a longer time there, working with the collection Foucault used, and perhaps doing some archival work. In part related, I also looked at some of the work by Georges Dumézil, who was essential to Foucault getting the post in Uppsala, and whose work is cited by him as an early influence.

I’ve also been doing some work on Ludwig Binswanger, including reading several of his works and compiling a bibliography of his works translated into French and English. I was getting confused by different references to the same essays, and making a bibliography was the best way I could find to keep track of things. There is a major collection in German, Ausgewählte Werke in 4 Bänden (Roland Asanger, Heidelberg, 1992–1994), which collects many, but not all, of his writings. There are two earlier collections of essays and lectures in German. There are several books translated into French, as well as three collections of essays – Analyse existentielle, psychiatrie clinique et psychanalyse: Discours, parcours, et Freud, translated by Roger Lewinter, Introduction à l’analyse existentielle, translated by Jacqueline Verdeaux, and the more recent Phénomenologie, psychologie, psychiatrie. There is much less in English, with the key collection being Being-In-The-World: Selected Papers of Ludwig Binswanger, though that is long out of print and it was hard to find a copy at the reasonable price. The first of the French collections has a good bibliography, and the definitive one is Germaine Sneessens, “Bibliographie de Ludwig Binswanger”, but both are very out-of-date concerning translations. I hope what I’ve done is some use to others.

Foucault read quite a bit of Binswanger’s work, not just in order to write the introduction to ‘Dream and Existence’, but also for his teaching. Most work on Foucault and Binswanger seems to really just analyse that introduction, but I think there is more to be said. Elisabetta Basso has done some very valuable work on this period in French, though her major work on the topic is only available in Italian. I’ve also been doing a little work on the early Lacan seminars which Foucault attended; and a little on Georges Canguilhem, though the two questions I asked about Canguilhem were both answered in the negative.

Tracking down some of these initial traces of information led me to various libraries, including one I’d never used before – the Wellcome Library. This has a very strong collection in the medical humanities, including the history of medicine, which might prove a useful resource as this work develops. I combined a visit there with a look around their exhibition on Bedlam: The Asylum and Beyond. It’s only on until 15 January – worth a visit if you’re nearby.

I’m in Paris again next week, for another few days in the archive.

Posted in Jacques Lacan, Ludwig Binswanger, Michel Foucault, The Early Foucault | 2 Comments

Two questions about Georges Canguilhem – both answered in the negative

Earlier this week I posted two questions about Georges Canguilhem – biography and archives

Two questions about Georges Canguilhem – does a biography exist in English or French? And are all his papers archived at CAPHÉS at the ENS? That looks quite extensive, but what I am looking for isn’t listed, so I wondered if there might, possibly, be another source?

Many thanks for the various answers I’ve received. The consensus seems to be that there is no full biography, though there are biographical elements in some of the books about him. There is a Centre Georges Canguilhem at Paris-VII, but this has no archives. I’ve been told that if it isn’t at CAPHÉS it was likely destroyed.

Posted in Georges Canguilhem, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Zygmunt Bauman has died, aged 91

Zygmunt Bauman has died, aged 91 – obituary in New York Times.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Two questions about Georges Canguilhem – biography and archives

Two questions about Georges Canguilhem – does a biography exist in English or French? And are all his papers archived at CAPHÉS at the ENS? That looks quite extensive, but what I am looking for isn’t listed, so I wondered if there might, possibly, be another source?

Update Jan 11: many thanks for the various answers I’ve received. The consensus seems to be that there is no full biography, though there are biographical elements in some of the books about him. There is a Centre Georges Canguilhem at Paris-VII, but this has no archives. I’ve been told that if it isn’t at CAPHÉS it was likely destroyed.

Posted in Georges Canguilhem, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A new page of Writing and Publishing posts and links

I’ve added a new page to this blog’s ‘resources‘, which is a list of some of the posts about writing and publishing. It’s followed by some links I’ve previously shared which may still be useful. If I say something about someone else’s advice, or aggregate a number of links, I’ve linked to my post, but others take you direct to the original.

At the moment I’ve only gone back through the blog archive to early 2013, but may go further back at some point.

The standard disclaimer – people work in different ways, and no one system or suggestion will suit everyone. But there might be some things in here which are useful for others.

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Ernst Kantorowicz: A Life reviewed in New York Times

k10842.gifErnst Kantorowicz: A Life, by Robert E Lerner, is reviewed in The New York Times by George Prochnik. Thanks to Sebastian Budgen for the link.

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Notes on Academic Productivity at OrgTheory

Some notes on Academic Productivity at OrgTheory – via The Sociological Imagination.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of scholars who, by any conventional standard, are very productive and they aren’t stuffing the CV with obscure publications. And I’ve asked them, how do you manage to pull this off? Here are the answers that I get:

  • Team work: Almost every star I’ve asked works in large groups. If you look at the CV’s, they have tons of co-authors.
  • Division of Labor: A lot of them have told me that they are very good at assigning tasks. One of them told me he *never* does fund raising. He works with another prof who in a medical school who has access to funds.
  • Shamelessness: Most academics sulk over rejections. These folks don’t. Soon as a paper gets rejected, they send it out ASAP.
  • Recognizing diminishing marginal returns: A paper will improve between first and second drafts. These folks understand that obsession over the 2oth and 21st version is pointless.
  • Attitude: Sounds corny, but every single one of these folks has an amazing forward looking attitude. They love what they do and they see the future as bright.
  • Minimizing junk work: Some probably shirk teaching or admin work, but what I have observed is that they are ruthlessly efficient. They reuse course materials, borrow syllabi, and use teaching to deepen their knowledge of a topic.
  • Recognizing the randomness of reviews: Most people complain about the randomness of reviewers. The star publishers draw the logical conclusion. If you can get random negatives, you get random positives. So just keep submitting until it you randomly pull positive reviews.

Bottom line: Sure, some people are geniuses, but a lot of productive people simply very good at time management and they don’t let the little things get to them.

I think some of this might depend on different disciplines, such as collaboration/division of labour, and ‘productivity’ shouldn’t be the end in itself. But if being ‘productive’ means getting the work you want to write written, accepted and out there, there might be some good ideas in here. The comments on the original post are worth a look for some dissenting voices.

Posted in Publishing, Uncategorized, Universities, Writing | 2 Comments

Foucault Studies 22 – ‘Foucault and Rome’, interview with me, and review of Foucault’s Last Decade

cover_issue_703_en_US.jpgThe new issue of Foucault Studies is now out – the bulk is a theme section on ‘Foucault and Roman Antiquity: Foucault and Rome’, edited by Richard Alston and Shreyaa Bhatt.

The issue also includes separate articles, a translation of Foucault’s ‘Cuvier’s Situation in the History of Biology’; an interview with me conducted by Antoinette Koleva, one with Julian Reid, and a very kind review of Foucault’s Last Decade by Kurt Borg. All open access.

The interview with me will also appear in Bulgarian in a special issue of the journal Sociological Problems {Социологически проблеми}, a publication of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, dedicated to the 90th anniversary of Michel Foucault.

Here’s one especially nice paragraph from Kurt Borg’s review:

Foucault’s Last Decade has various merits. It is cogently argued: Elden’s contention that the question of confession is key to understanding the transformations that The History of Sexuality underwent is convincing. It is extensively researched: Elden’s eye for detail and accuracy is painstaking but never pedantic. Indeed, the book contains various references to sources which are familiar and to others that were unearthed and compiled by Elden as “The Uncollected Foucault” in Foucault Studies. The major contribution of this book is its well-informed study of the history of The History of Sexuality in Foucault’s last decade, which Elden does excellently by considering together the books Foucault actually published, his various lecture courses and interviews, and biographical details. Regarding the latter, Elden claims that Foucault’s “wider life is discussed only in relation to how it impacts on his work.” (5) In so doing, Elden avoids the pitfalls of implausible speculations drawn out of Foucault’s private life. The book exhibits the virtues of meticulous and careful scholarship in their richness.

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Books received – Lacan and Binswanger

books received.png

The French originals of Lacan’s first two published seminars, and some French and English translations of Binswanger’s work. More preparatory reading for the project on the early Foucault.

Posted in Jacques Lacan, Ludwig Binswanger, Michel Foucault, The Early Foucault, Uncategorized | 1 Comment