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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

UChicago Professor Helps Uncover Lost Lectures by French Philosopher Foucault

University of Chicago News Release
Originally released on February 7, 2013

More than 30 years ago, French philosopher Michel Foucault gave a landmark series of seven lectures at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium In them, Foucault linked his early and late work—exploring the role of confession in the determination of truth and justice from the time of the Greeks forward to the 1970s.

While the lectures had been mythic among Foucault scholars, only a partial, poorly transcribed account had survived. Recently rediscovered, details of the lectures have been published in a new book co-edited by Prof. Bernard E. Harcourt.

“These 1981 lectures form a crucial link between Foucault’s earlier work on surveillance in society, the prison and neoliberal governmentality during the 1970s, and his later work on subjectivity and the care of the self in the 1980s,” said Harcourt, co-editor of Mal faire, dire vrai: La fonction de l’aveu en justice [Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice], which Louvain and the University of Chicago Press recently released in French.

“A lot of people still cling to the idea that there was a fundamental transition in his interests, but one can identify all his later themes much earlier on, as illustrated by the continuity revealed in these lectures,” added Harcourt, chair and professor of Political Science and the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Criminology.

Foucault particularly delved into how the process of confession affects the way we think about ourselves, and who we are, according to Arnold Davidson, renowned Foucault scholar and the Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor.

The entire story is here.

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