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Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy II (PH333-15)


This module is being discontinued with effect from 2012/13

This module runs in the Autumn Term and is worth 15 CATS


The aim of this module is threefold:
• to develop a genealogical critique of neoliberalism as the socio-economic paradigm defining our political subjectivity via a close reading of Michel Foucault's 1979 lectures at the Collège de France, The birth of Biopolitics, translated by Graham Burchell (Basingstoke: Pagrave Macmillan, 2008).
• to come to an understanding of the key differences between liberalism and neoliberalism.
• to suggest alternative modes of subjectivation. other conceptions of the self, and by looking at key passages from Georges Bataille's project for a political economy in The Accursed Share, Volumes 1 and 3, translated by Robert Hurley (New York: Zone Books, 1989).


Students will have acquired :
• a new set of analytical skills, as informed by Foucault’s genealogical method, and a renewed understanding of what it means to think philosophically ;
• an ability to understand, process and engage with information, data and theories from political and economic theory from a distinctly philosophical perspective ;
• an ability to engage critically with the current economic and political situation.


In this module students must attend 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of seminars per week

Lectures for 2011-12

Wednesday 12pm-2pm in PS1.28

There will be no lectures in reading week (week 6)

Seminars for 2011-12

Seminars start in week 2

There will be no seminars in reading week (week 6)

Please sign up for a seminar group using reporttool.


This module can be assessed in the following ways:

  • 100% examination - (by 2 hour examination or 1.5 hour examination for those also sitting the exam for PH332))
  • 100% assessed - 1 x 2500 word essay (or 1 x 5000 word essay if combining with 100% assessed for PH332)

In addition all students must submit 1 x 1500 word unassessed essay to the main office in hard copy in line with the 2011-12 essay deadlines schedule.

Please see here for further infomation on how to choose your assessment method


Works by Foucault:

  • Naissance de la biopolitique. Cours au Collège de France, 1978-1979. Edited by Michel Senellart (Hautes Etudes/Gallimard/Seuil, 2004). Translated by Graham Burchell as The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
  • “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire”(1971) and “Qu’est-ce que les lumières?” (1984) in Dits et écrits II, 1970-1975, and Dits et écrits IV, 1975-1979, edited by Daniel Defert and François Lagrange (Paris, Gallimard, 1994). Translated as “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” and “What is Enlightenment?”in The Foucault Reader, edited by Paul Rabinow (London: Penguin Books, 1984).
  • “Sur les façons d’écrire l’histoire” (1967) and “Qui êtes-vous, professeur Foucault?” (1967) in Michel Foucault, Dits et écrits I, 1954-1969, edited by Daniel Defert and François Lagrange (Paris, Gallimard, 1994). Translated as “On the Ways of Writing History” in Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, edited by Paul Rabinow, Vol. 2: Aesthetics, Method and Epistemology, edited by James D. Faubion (New York: The New Press, 1998), 279-296; “Who are you, Professor Foucault?” in Jeremy Carrette, Religion and Culture: Michel Foucault (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999), 87-104.
  • “Subject and Power” (1982) in R. Dreyfus and P. Rabinow (eds), Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 208-226.

Works by Bataille:

  • “The Notion of Expenditure” in Visions of Excess, trans. Allan Stoekl (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 1985), 116-129.
  •  La Part Maudite, Volume III (La Souveraineté) in Œuvres complètes, Volume VIII (Paris: Gallimard, 1976). Translated by Robert Hurley as The Accursed Share, Volume 3 (Sovereignty) (New York: Zone Books, 1991).

Course materials from previous years

Please be aware that these materials may not be relevant to the current version of this module; they are intended primarily for students who took the module in other years.

Module Tutor:

Teaching Assistants: