Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Michel Foucault, Against Himself: Arlette Farge Remembers Foucault on the Streets of Paris, Literary Hub, 16 Nov 2015

The following conversation with French historian Arlette Farge is excerpted from Michel Foucault, Against Himselfa collection of interviews and essays exploring the contradictions and conflicts at the heart of Michel Foucault’s life and work.

You met Foucault after the events of May 1968.

Arlette Farge: I first became acquainted with him through his work in 1975, when Discipline and Punish came out. Back then I was a teacher for young educators who wanted to work in the penitentiary system, so I knew a lot about what Michel Foucault was discussing, and the way, for example, he would go into prisons to read Discipline and Punish out loud to the prisoners. I admired him. Back then, street demonstrations, anything concerning freedom, utopia, the prison system, happiness, life that’s intolerable—those things were objects of personal and intellectual interest for me.

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Deleuze ABECEDAIRE, Fidélité Amitié, seconda parte: Foucault
Deleuze describes his friendship with Michel Foucault

With thanks to Colin Gordon for this link

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Foucault et Baudrillard — Hamdi Nabli (2015).
Livre: Foucault et Baudrillard: La fin du pouvoir (2015)

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Michel Foucault vu par son neveu La Novelle République, Communes, Vienne – Vendeuvre-du-Poitou – Vendeuvre-du-poitou, 23/09/2015

Henri-Paul Fruchaud raconte Foucault au quotidien.

Henri-Paul Fruchaud raconte Foucault au quotidien.

A l’occasion des journées du patrimoine, une exposition promenade était organisée dans les jardins de la maison familiale où Michel Foucault a écrit une grande partie de son œuvre durant les vacances. Pour Jocelyne Berge, présidente de l’association Le Jardin de Michel Foucault, il s’agit de faire découvrir aux Vendeuvrais ce philosophe connu au niveau national mais pas nécessairement localement.

“ C’est toujours lui qui faisait la mayonnaise ! ”

Environ 70 personnes étaient présentes pour assister à la causerie donnée par Henri-Paul Fruchaud, aîné des neveux de Michel Foucault. Il a évoqué le parcours professionnel et l’œuvre de son oncle à travers certaines étapes significatives de la réflexion de Foucault. L’« Histoire de la folie » (1961) marque une première étape, « Les mots et les choses » (1966) pose un deuxième jalon. Le parcours évolue ensuite avec « Surveiller et punir » (1975) qui traite de la naissance de la prison utilisée comme seul moyen de punition.
C’était aussi l’occasion de découvrir le philosophe sous un angle familial. Henri-Paul Fruchaud a raconté de nombreuses anecdotes, à commencer par l’habitude qu’il avait d’observer le travail du philosophe assis dans son bureau. Foucault écrivait au moins 3 versions de ses livres et finalisait la troisième à Vendeuvre. Il écrivait 5 à 6 heures par jour. Il participait aussi à la vie familiale. Ainsi, « c’est toujours lui qui faisait la mayonnaise ! ». Ses promenades inspiraient ses réflexions.

Il trichait au poker

Il s’adressait aux enfants comme à des adultes, jouait et trichait au poker en famille et était doté d’un rire très sonore. Henri-Paul Fruchaud a également évoqué les indignations du philosophe.

En terminant la causerie, il a annoncé que 37.000 feuillets écrits par Foucault sont déposés à la Bibliothèque Nationale. Son œuvre devrait être publiée dans La Bibliothèque de la Pleïade en novembre prochain. Désormais, on s’oriente vers la publication de ses cours, causeries et conférences enregistrés.

With thanks to Stuart Elden and Colin Gordon for this news

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RizzaMichael James Rizza The Topographical Imagination of Jameson, Baudrillard, and Foucault, Noesis/The Davies Group, 2015

Notice on author’s blog
An interview with the author, Michael James Rizza, in Hyperrhiz 12

This in-depth discussion of several canonical theorists — Fredric Jameson, Jean Baudrillard, and Michel Foucault — traces the trajectory of their ideas from one text to the next. It focuses on how these theorists attempt to avoid the problem of representation, as well as humanist subjectivity, even as they imagine the external situations that shape individual identity. Although the author offers in-depth overviews, he does not simply rehearse the theories, such as many introductions to theory do. Instead, he excavates the topographical imagination that results from seeking to constitute the subject from without, from its external situation. He draws forth the organizing figure of each theorist’s spatial thinking—Jameson’s Marxist dialectical levels, Baudrillard’s double spiral of the symbolic and the semiotic, and Foucault’s dual bar of exclusion—which provides readers an innovative way to approach complex ideas.

From the Back Cover

The Topographical Imagination of Jameson, Baudrillard, and Foucault is indeed, as Michael James Rizza argues, a collection of several tapestries: a study of three of the most important theorists of the postmodern period, whose individual trajectories are traced over the course of their careers; an exploration of the subject as it evolves from an original Enlightenment model; a consideration of the various organizing figures–system of levels, double-spiral, dual caesura–by which today’s projected worlds are imagined. In the end, readers are provided with an intellectual history that is as wide-ranging–from Spinoza and Kant to Debord and Lefebvre–as it is incisive. And because the theoretical is always informed by a command of literature that is breathtaking in its scope–from Cervantes to Milosz to Borges to Pynchon–the discussions are certain to appeal to an audience of quite varied tastes. Integrating all of this into a seamless whole is not the easiest of tasks, and it is to the book’s great credit that it does so and in such a way as to join clarity with acuity beautifully.

Stacey Olster, Professor of English, Stony Brook University

About the Author

Michael James Rizza (PhD, American Literature) is the author of the award-winning novel Cartilage and Skin, short fiction, and various academic articles. He teaches at Kean University in New Jersey.

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Editor: Reblogged from Stuart Elden’s site Progressive Geographies

Foucault was interviewed in 1975 for a Brazilian paper:

Q: In your work, the State seems to occupy a privileged place. And the State represents a privileged instance for understanding historical-cultural formations. Could you specify the conditions of possibility which underpin the State?

A: It is true that the State interests me, but it only interests me differentially [différentiellement]. I do not believe that the entirety [ensemble] of the powers which are exercised within a society – and which assure the hegemony of a class, an elite, or a caste in that society – are entirely contained in the State system. The State, with its grand judicial, military and other apparatuses [appareils], only represents a guarantee, the reinforcement of a network of powers which come through different channels, different from these main routes. My problem is to attempt a differential analysis of the different levels of power in society. As a consequence, the State occupies an important place in this, but not a preeminent one (DE no 163, II 812).

“El filósofo responde’, Jornal da Tarde, 1 Nov 1975, pp. 12-13; translated by Plinio-Walder Prado Jr as “Michel Foucault: Les réponses du philosophie”, Dits et écrits text no 163, Vol II, p. 812 (1994 Four Volume edition).

This passage does not appear in the recent reprint of the Portuguese translation of the interview. I guess it must be in the original Portuguese version (which I have been unable to locate) because if not, what is the source for the translation in Dits et écrits? [Update 26 May 2015: the question does appear in the 1975 original – thanks to Andrea Teti for tracking down a copy.]

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Gilles Deleuze, The Intellectual and Politics. Foucault and the prison, Interview with Paul Rabinow and Keith Gandal, 25 May 1985, History of the Present, Spring 1986.

PDF of interview

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