Introducing Foucault 13/13

Race war, biopolitics, the hermeneutics of the self, governmentality, the examination of one’s conscience, sécurité, the courage of truth, illégalismes, juridical forms, governing through truth, the “punitive society,” truth-telling, judicial apparatuses of repression, the Nu-pieds rebellions of 1639, parrhesia . . . Michel Foucault’s 13 years of lectures at the Collège de France introduced us to new concepts and novel research avenues. For many of us, those avenues have been fertile ground for our own theorization, for others fertile ground for critique. They represent, as Foucault intended, rich and productive “pistes de recherches.”

With the publication of the entire series of lectures at the Collège de France—the last, Théories et institutions pénales (1971–1972) just released in May 2015—it is now time to read them

chronologically:  to grasp the overall project of those lectures at the Collège, to discuss the full trajectory, and to continue to excavate our own “pistes de recherche” building on Foucault’s (The seminars in French are all published by the Éditions de l’EHESS here; English translations are published here and here, but are missing 1981 Subjectivity and Truth; and 1972 Penal Theories and Institutions. The English version of La Société Punitive will be out very soon.).

The Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought and the Columbia Society of Fellows in the Humanities, with the support of the Maison Française, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, are delighted to host 13 seminars on the 13 courses. The seminar series—Foucault 13/13—will extend over the full 2015–2016 academic year at Columbia University. The seminar series will be open to Columbia faculty, fellows, and students, as well as faculty and students from other New York universities.

Each seminar will be led by distinguished scholars from different disciplines. The seminars will take place on Monday evenings in the fall semester (2015) and Thursday evenings in the spring semester (2016) from 6:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.