Conferencing the International: Spaces of Modern Internationalism – 18-19 Dec 2018, Royal Geographical Society, London

Conferencing the International Programme.jpgConferencing the International: Spaces of Modern Internationalism

18-19 December 2018, Royal Geographical Society, London

Over two days at the RGS, an interdisciplinary selection of expert speakers will discuss the nature of international conferences and the role that conferences have played – and continue to play – in shaping our understandings of modern internationalism. For the full programme, please see the link on the Eventbrite page (below).

The conference is free and open to all, but places are limited so advance registration is recommended:



Twitter: @InterwarConf

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‘Émergence des equipment collectifs’ – a previously unpublished 1974 essay by Foucault, published online with introduction by Philippe Chevallier

An unpublished piece by Foucault from 1974, “Émergence des equipment collectifs“, has recently been discovered and published online by Ici et Ailleurs, with an Introduction by Philippe Chevallier.

Philippe kindly sent me the essay a few days before publication, as it explicitly links to the work Foucault did with Guattari’s CERFI group – a link I’ve discussed in my books on Foucault. I’ve previously discussed the importance of Foucault’s collaborative projects on this site, and put together a bibliography of references, which can be found here. I’ve just added this essay.

With Philippe’s agreement and encouragement, I’m sharing below the brief note I sent him. there is more to be said about its content and connections, of course, and we hope that readers will follow up with comments on the Ici et ailleurs site:

Dear Philippe

My apologies for taking this time to have a chance to read it. It’s been a very busy start of term.
It’s an interesting text, though not especially new to people who have read Surveiller et punir, the CERFI reports and related materials. I think your introduction is very helpful, and I’m grateful you mentioned my two books in the revised version. I especially used the IMEC archive to situate the published materials in relation to the overall shape of the project. My books give all the details of the things that I found. I’d be happy to send you copies of both if they’d be of interest – either e-copies for you to consult now, or physical copies of the books if you can wait a little while. It would be a pleasure to share them.
The IMEC material is important, though I am fairly sure that this text is not found there. I did the research with the CERFI material many years ago, when the IMEC collection was still in Paris, though I have been back since it moved to Caen, to look at other material. One thing that seemed important to me, and might be worth mentioning in your Introduction, is that there was an important link between the work done in the CERFI projects and the Collège de France seminar. You indicate this in a note, but it might be more prominent. Once the Pierre Rivière collection was finished, I think that there is an important overlap between Foucault’s seminar and some of the work he does with CERFI. The reports link to Les machines à guerir, as you say, which is certainly in part of a seminar project, and there is a link too to the Politiques de l’habitat collection Foucault directed. We know so little about what Foucault did in those seminars, beyond the paragraphs in the course summaries.
I think both of your hypotheses are correct – Foucault used his name to help get some funding, but i do also think that his seminar influenced his own writing. There are some important links between work that happened collaboratively and later lectures and writings.
The title obviously links it to the CERFI work, but I wonder how we’d read it without that title – it doesn’t say much about the notion of ‘equipment collectifs’, and many of its themes connect to works published just under Foucault’s own name. I also see some links to the Rio medicine lectures of 1974, as well as Surveiller et punir and the CERFI projects. 1974 makes a lot of sense as its date.
You already mention many of the pieces listed here, but a few years ago I made a bibliography of Foucault’s Collaborative Projects. It may be of interest
Thanks so much for sharing this with me. I’ll look forward to seeing it published and will certainly share links on my blog. Please do let me know when it’s available.
with very best wishes
Posted in Foucault's Last Decade, Foucault: The Birth of Power, Michel Foucault, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Early Foucault Update 21: Pushing Gravel Uphill


Just over two years ago, while I was having something to eat in Pasadena, before a conference on Early Modern Literary Geographies, I sketched out how a pair of books on Foucault’s work up until 1969 might look. I’ve been working on the earlier of the two books since, albeit with the detour of the Canguilhem study and the final work on Shakespearean Territories. Although The Early Foucault is far from finished, it’s come a long way in that time. The chapters have increased to nine and changed some of their arrangement, though it covers all of this and more, as I learn more about this period. Increasingly though I’m finding I’m gathering sources, making notes and thinking about the 1960s book.
The Early Foucault-Foucault in the 1960s

Term 1 is when I do most of my teaching, and the first half of the term is always the busiest time of year. Even though I tried to keep to a rhythm of writing a bit every day, or most days, I wasn’t able to manage this as often as I’d like. I’m teaching European Political Theory for the first time in years, and I am writing the lectures afresh. I also teach an MA module on Geopolitics Today, and although I have the framework for each lecture from previous years, I continually update material depending on what is in the news. There are also lots and lots of meetings, with PhD students, personal tutees, committees and so on. Add in the proofs and queries on the Canguilhem book, the talk at the Architectural Association, and some other things, including a grant application, and the time for research and writing has been limited. Writing during term feels a bit like completing a huge jigsaw a few pieces each day instead of a chunk at a time or, on bad days, like pushing gravel uphill. Even when I get to the British Library it’s often a fragmented day, with meetings or other work. But even a little bit each day or a few days a week adds up.

I did write up a very few thoughts on Foucault at the Movies, read an advance copy of the Foucault in California memoir by Simeon Wade, and began reading the new Foucault courses on sexuality. These all relate to later periods of Foucault’s life and work. I have however managed to do little things here and there in relation to The Early Foucault. Much of this began with looking into the work of Georges Bataille and the short-lived Acéphale journal (a little more about that here). That made me think I needed to know more about Bataille, so I read Michel Surya’s biography.

I also looked at a few books about the use of Nietzsche in France, both pre-World War II and afterwards. There are quite a lot of studies, both in English and French. This forms a context for Foucault’s own reading of the material, and the way in which Nietzsche was read and taught. Strangely, Henri Lefebvre’s 1939 book Nietzsche is largely absent from these accounts, despite being an important challenge to the fascist reading. That relates to both previous project of mine, the book on Lefebvre, and the next piece on Lefebvre I’ve agreed to write. I also spent a little time with the edition of Nietzsche’s work that Foucault used in the first half of his career. The Kritische Gesamtausgabe, edited by Colli and Montinari only began publication in 1967, and Foucault would initially be one of the editors for its French translation. But before this date he, like any other researcher, had to make use of the earlier, flawed editions. Aner Barzilay has been really helpful here, and elsewhere, in sharing his insights into Foucault’s early work with Nietzsche. It matters which edition Foucault used especially when looking at Nietzsche’s Nachlaß.

Among the other things I was looking into was La Table Ronde publishing house. Foucault signed a book contract with them in the mid-1950s for what he generally describes as a history of psychiatry. His work on this developed while he was in Uppsala, and it became the History of Madness, published by Plon. I did some work reading up about La Table Ronde, and there are some interesting things about it which may well find a way into my book. Their archives are at IMEC, which may be something to follow up on when next there. But it did feel that I was spending a lot of time learning about a publisher Foucault did not work with…

Another task took a wildly disproportionate amount of time in relation to its importance. It began with what seemed a pretty straight-forward question: when did Foucault join the editorial team of the journal Critique? David Macey reports that he was invited by Jean Piel when he became the editor, and this means it was after July 1962, because Piel took over when Georges Bataille, the journal’s founder, died. Jean Piel had been working with Bataille on the journal for a while, along with Eric Weil, though Weil stepped down in July 1962, the last issue Bataille edited. The journal had an editor – Bataille, and then Piel – a small ‘Conseil de Rédaction’, and a wider Comité. Foucault was part of the Conseil de Rédaction along with Roland Barthes and Michel Deguy. Warwick has an incomplete run of the journal, only beginning to have a sequence of issues from late 1963. Sometimes when libraries bind multiple issues of journals together, they remove the initial pages with the editorial information, so even though I could review all the issues in another library, this didn’t solve the issue. The British Library has one sequence of the journal, with 1961 and 1962 complete, and with the mastheads. But for the first half of 1963, they only have four of the six issues, unbound. Useful, but it transpires the missing two are the ones I need – Foucault is not part of the board in the last issue of 1962, and he’s there in the third issue of 1963. So, he clearly joined in early 1963, but is there some kind of announcement of the new team? The BL has another sequence of the journal under a different classmark, but like the first one I ordered, these take 48 hours to arrive. And since I can usually only get to the BL once or twice a week in this term, that means it was another week to wait. This did resolve the issue, but only to say he joined in January 1963 – no announcement or other information.

This might seem ridiculously pedantic. But by looking at this sequence of journals, I found a number of interesting things. These included Roland Barthes’s review of Histoire de la folie in late 1961; Foucault’s review of Jean Laplanche’s Hölderlin et la question du père in 1962 – his first publication in the journal; the notice of Bataille’s death; and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s essay on Roussel’s Oeuvres, which is also supposed to also be on Foucault’s Raymond Roussel, but fails to mention Foucault’s book. There is a double issue in tribute to Bataille in late 1963. Some of these pieces are anthologised elsewhere, but it’s often worth seeing the original place where something was published. Not relevant in this case, but sometimes original versions of publication have ephemeral information that is not reprinted in later versions – short author biographies, for example. But above all looking through these issues gives a sense of the intellectual community in the pages of this journal. It’s very self-referential, and a relatively closed group of contributors. The wider Comité has an extraordinary list of names – Raymond Aron, Maurice Blanchot, Fernand Braudel, René Char, Etienne Gilson, Julian Huxley, Alexandre Koyré, Lewis Mumford, Jean Wahl and others – but as far as I know, all male and all white. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see some of the first pieces by people like Foucault, Derrida and so on.

At some point I also need to check to see exactly when Derrida joins the team, and when Foucault leaves it. This is important for another aspect of the story. But that I should be able to do at Warwick next week, since they have a complete run from 1964 onwards. Hopefully they didn’t cut out the mastheads.

Next week is ‘reading week’, which for academics should perhaps be described as ‘writing week’. The task will be a short text as the introduction to a forthcoming translation. More details when the publisher announces it.

The previous updates on this project are here; and the earlier books Foucault’s Last Decade and Foucault: The Birth of Power are both available from Polity. Canguilhem is forthcoming in early 2019, and is discussed a bit more here. Several Foucault research resources such as bibliographies, short translations, textual comparisons and so on are available here.

Posted in Canguilhem, Georges Bataille, Georges Canguilhem, Michel Foucault, teaching, The Early Foucault, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

‘Foucault before The History of Madness’, Sussex, 7 December 2018

Sussex posterI’ll be speaking at the University of Sussex on 7 December 2018 on ‘Foucault before The History of Madness – Lectures, Translations, Nietzsche’. The talk draws on the research i’ve been doing for The Early Foucault. The ‘translations’ are ones made by Foucault and colleagues, not of Foucault.

Before this event I’ll be discussing Foucault: The Birth of Power with a smaller group who have been reading that book.

Thanks to Anna Gumucio Ramberg and Bal Sokhi-Bulley for this invitation.


Posted in Foucault: The Birth of Power, Michel Foucault, The Early Foucault, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Books received – Canguilhem, Critique on Bataille, Derrida, Haghighi, Hewitt

Books receivedThe long-awaited volume V of Georges Canguilhem, Oeuvres complètesCritique No 195-196 – the tribute issue to Georges Bataille from 1963; Jacques Derrida, Geschlecht III; Farzaneh Haghighi, Is the Tehran Bazaar Dead? Foucault, Politics, and Architecture (sent by the publisher) and Rachel Hewitt, Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey.



Posted in Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tributes to Robert W. Cox at Progress in Political Economy

Shannon Brincat is running a tribute page to Robert W. Cox at Progress in Political Economy. Tributes from Anna Agathangelou, Andreas Bieler, Shannon Brincat, Richard Devetak, Richard Falk, and many others. More tributes are welcomed.

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A tribute to the work of Paul Virilio – video

The Brooklyn Rail is proud to host a panel discussion and film screening in honor of Paul Virilio’s (1932-2018) life and the influence his work has had on a generation of thinkers. The evening will begin with a rare screening of the short film “Itineraries of Catastrophe” – a conversation between Virilio and Sylvère Lotringer. The panel, moderated by Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) and will include McKenzie Wark, Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, and David Levi Strauss, with introductions by Nichols Goodeve.

Thanks to dmf for the link.

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Foucault Studies: Foucault and Philosophical Practice (2018)

New issue of Foucault Studies – including a new translation of a Foucault interview from 1979, and a review of Les aveux de la chair, among many other pieces.

Foucault News

The 25th issue of Foucault Studies, Foucault and Philosophical Practice, has now been published. (September 2018)

The journal is open source.

The issue amounts to no less than 23 contributions and a sum total of more than 400 pages. In addition to the special issue on “Foucault and Philosophical Practice”, comprising four articles with a shared introduction, the issue contains a section with eight original articles, a review section, and a section containing a significant interview with Foucault from 1979 published in English as well as in French plus contextualizations by both the translators and the the original interviewer.

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Shirin M. Rai and Carole Spary, Performing Representation: Women Members in the Indian Parliament – OUP March 2019

9780199489053Shirin M. Rai and Carole Spary, Performing Representation: Women Members in the Indian Parliament – OUP, March 2019

Breaking new ground in scholarship on gender and politics, Performing Representation is the first comprehensive analysis of women in the Indian parliament. It explores the possibilities and limits of parliamentary democracy and the participation of women in its institutional performances.

Offering a new, multi-method analysis of the gendered nature of India’s parliament through an examination of electoral data, media reports and life stories of women Members of Parliament it sheds light on the performance, aesthetics, and norms of parliamentary life. It explores how the gendered axis of power underpins the performance of parliament and its Members as well as the political economy in which they are embedded. The book makes a strong case for taking parliamentary politics seriously in these times of populism, without either a utopian framing of women MPs as challengers of masculinised institutional politics or seeing them simply as docile actors in a gendered institution.

Performing Representation raises critical questions about the politics of difference, claim-making, representation and intersectionality. It addresses these questions as part of global feminist debates on the importance of the women’s representation in political institutions.

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Historical Materialism 15th Annual Conference – 8-11 November 2018, SOAS, London

Historical Materialism 15th Annual Conference – 8-11 November 2018, SOAS, London

David Mabb HM Poster 2018 v1.jpg

Posted in Conferences, Uncategorized | 2 Comments