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Foucault as an Ethicist (PH929-20/30)

Programme content

The core aim of the course is to examine the development of Foucault’s writings in the 1970s and 1980s on politics and ethics – especially power, freedom, and subjectivity – and pay special attention to the later writings, including the lecture courses being published in France and gradually being translated into English. The course considers whether the ethics of self-cultivation advanced by Foucault in his late period can be treated as consistent with his analysis of power and subjectivity. The course also examines Foucault’s relation to key figures in modern philosophy, notably Kant and Nietzsche, as well as his critical relation to Marxism, and gives consideration to Marxian and feminist engagements with his work.

Topics covered

The following is a list of topics for this module in the 2011/12 academic year; precise seminar content may change from year to year.

  • Introduction to Foucault
  • Foucault on Kant and Modernity
  • Foucault on Power
  • Foucault on Nietzsche and Genealogy
  • A Post-Nietzschean Ethics and Politics?
  • On Power, Repression, and Sexuality
  • Foucault on Biopolitics
  • Foucault on Care of Self I
  • Foucault on Care of Self II
  • Foucault, Marxism, and Feminism
Timing and CATS

This Module runs in the Summer term for the first 5 weeks of term and is worth 20 or 30 CATS depending on your programme of study.