Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Progressive Geographies

The audio recording of Peter Gratton’s talk ‘Spinoza and the Biopolitical Roots of Modernity’ at UWS is now available (from here, via’s Peter’s blog).

Peter Graton Presenting His Paper

Abstract: Much has been written about bio-political sovereignty in the wake of Giorgio Agamben’s work, which relies, at least in the first volume of Homo Sacer, on Carl Schmitt’s transcendental account of sovereignty. I will argue, however, that Foucault and Arendt rightly identify what Derrida once called the “changing shape and place of sovereignty” in modernity, which for them is horizontal and disseminated within a presupposed nation. For this reason, we will look to the source of modern philosophical immanentism, Spinoza, to show that he is not extrinsic to this modern bio-politics, and demonstrates how the sovereign exception and its nationalized version work hand-in-glove in the era of which he was a part. In this way, we argue that it is Spinoza’s political theology…

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