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Colin Gordon, Review Article: The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon, History of the Human Sciences 2016, Vol. 29(3) 91–110

Also on academia.edu

Leonard Lawlor and John Nale (eds) The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon. New York:Cambridge University Press, 2014. 741 pp. £99.99. ISBN: 9780521119214 (hbk)

This big and potentially influential volume is one sign among others of Michel Foucault’s ongoing elevation to classic status within the history of recent thought. The publishers say that the 117 entries in this volume are written by ‘the world’s leading scholars inFoucault’s thought’. Some of the 72 contributors certainly fit that billing. Alongside many established experts, there are also younger scholars whose renown lies, hopefully, in the near future; this mix gives a range of generational perspectives which is to be welcomed.The contributors are comprised overwhelmingly of philosophers working in the USA and Canada, plus a handful from western Europe, and two Australians. Foucault’s creative impact has long extended across a far wider global and intellectual community than is adequately represented here. The mass presence of philosophers doubtless reflects the commercial fact that academic reference works targeted at the university library market generally need a definite primary departmental focus. Nevertheless, it is a pity that a few more contributions have not been provided to this lexicon by some of those academics based in geography,history,politics,criminology,sociology,anthropology or classics who have engaged with, used or tested Foucault in their fields.This might have also diminished a tendency, perhaps compounded by the legacy of a past generation of commentaries focused on Foucault’s earlier books, to produce an overall emphasis which underplays Foucault’s public and political engagements.

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foucault-iranBehrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, University of Minnesota Press, 2016.

Were the thirteen essays Michel Foucault wrote in 1978–1979 endorsing the Iranian Revolution an aberration of his earlier work or an inevitable pitfall of his stance on Enlightenment rationality, as critics have long alleged? Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi argues that the critics are wrong. He declares that Foucault recognized that Iranians were at a threshold and were considering if it were possible to think of dignity, justice, and liberty outside the cognitive maps and principles of the European Enlightenment.

Foucault in Iran centers not only on the significance of the great thinker’s writings on the revolution but also on the profound mark the event left on his later lectures on ethics, spirituality, and fearless speech. Contemporary events since 9/11, the War on Terror, and the Arab Uprisings have made Foucault’s essays on the Iranian Revolution more relevant than ever. Ghamari-Tabrizi illustrates how Foucault saw in the revolution an instance of his antiteleological philosophy: here was an event that did not fit into the normative progressive discourses of history. What attracted him to the Iranian Revolution was precisely its ambiguity.

Theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich, this interdisciplinary work will spark a lively debate in its insistence that what informed Foucault’s writing was not an effort to understand Islamism but, rather, his conviction that Enlightenment rationality has not closed the gate of unknown possibilities for human societies.

A groundbreaking reassessment of Foucault’s writings on one of the greatest political upheavals of our time.

Foucault in Iran centers on the significance of Foucault’s writings on the Iranian Revolution and the profound mark it left on his lectures on ethics, spirituality, and fearless speech. This interdisciplinary work will spark a lively debate in its insistence that what informed Foucault’s writing was his conviction that Enlightenment rationality has not closed the gate of unknown possibilities for human societies.

Foucault in Iran is a courageous and thought-provoking invitation to understand the Iranian revolution, and Foucault’s reaction to it, in an original way. A splendid work that goes beyond simple binaries, it has no sympathy for the clichéd vocabulary used by Progressivists to describe these events—or to criticize Foucault for his alleged romanticisation of the Iranian revolution.

Talal Asad, City University of New York

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi is associate professor of history, and sociology and Director of the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign. He is the author of Islam and Dissent in Postrevolutionary Iran, Remembering Akbar: Inside the Iranian Revolution, and co-editor of The Iranian Revolution Turns 30.

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Progressive Geographies

image_miniArlene Farge and Michel Foucault, Disorderly Families: Infamous Letters from the Bastille Archives, forthcoming with University of Minnesota Press, edited by Nancy Luxon and translated by Thomas Scott-Railton. The UMP page says January 2017; Amazon suggests November 2016. There will be a companion book of essays, entitled Archives ofInfamy, also edited by Nancy Luxon – more details when available.

Drunken and debauched husbands; libertine wives; vagabonding children. These and many more are the subjects of requests for confinement written to the king of France in the eighteenth century. These letters of arrest (lettres de cachet) from France’s Ancien Régime were often associated with excessive royal power and seen as a way for the king to imprison political opponents. In Disorderly Families, first published in French in 1982, Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault collect ninety-four letters from ordinary families who, with the help of hired scribes, submitted complaints…

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Progressive Geographies

imageOut shortly is Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Thanks to Chathan Vemuri for the link.

Foucault in Iran centers on the significance of Foucault’s writings on the Iranian Revolution and the profound mark it left on his lectures on ethics, spirituality, and fearless speech. This interdisciplinary work will spark a lively debate in its insistence that what informed Foucault’s writing was his conviction that Enlightenment rationality has not closed the gate of unknown possibilities for human societies.

Foucault in Iran is a courageous and thought-provoking invitation to understand the Iranian revolution, and Foucault’s reaction to it, in an original way. A splendid work that goes beyond simple binaries, it has no sympathy for the clichéd vocabulary used by Progressivists to describe these events—or to criticize Foucault for his alleged romanticisation of the Iranian revolution.

Talal Asad, City University of New York

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postmortemPascal Hintermeyer (ed.) Foucault post mortem en Europe, Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2015

Michel Foucault continue à marquer des pans entiers de la pensée contemporaine en apparaissant comme un penseur à multiples facettes, qui se joue des frontières, bouscule les clivages établis, évolue sans cesse, surgit là où on ne l’attendait pas, ouvrant ainsi de nouvelles perspectives.

Depuis sa mort, en 1984, son influence épistémologique, géographique et culturelle n’a cessé de croître. Pour expliquer son rayonnement international, on insiste souvent sur son succès aux États-Unis. Nous nous intéressons ici à sa réception dans plusieurs aires culturelles européennes et au positionnement de son œuvre par rapport à divers auteurs (Lacan, Habermas, Weber, etc.).

L’influence exercée par Foucault post mortem à travers la diffusion de toute une terminologie issue de ses travaux est un signe de cette empreinte durable: assujettissement, panoptisme, dispositifs, biopolitique.

Ainsi se dessine un portrait de Foucault à la fois cohérent et divers. Cohérent dans son refus des essentialismes et des téléologies, dans sa volonté de transcender les divisions instituées. Divers dans ses talents, ses combats, ses initiatives.

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dastoorehKaveh Dastooreh, Le dilemme de la continuite et de la discontinuite. La diversite methodologique foucaldienne, Connaissances et savoirs, 2016

Sociologie – 62 pages – 140×200
ISBN : 9782753903319

La pensée de Michel Foucault est souvent présentée comme une pensée discontinuitiviste, comme si la discontinuité était le seul thème administrant son travail. En étudiant ce que Foucault, lui-même, pouvait commenter à ce propos et en examinant de près son travail, nous pouvons constater que la discontinuité n’est pas le seul thème administrateur de son travail, et nous pouvons y trouver en abondance des images de continuité temporelle. Bien que, parfois, Foucault accorde un privilège à la discontinuité temporelle, ces images ne reflètent en aucun cas une quelconque opposition aux continuités, qui se trouvent par ailleurs de manière récurrente dans son entreprise. Cette recherche montre donc en premier lieu que ces deux thèmes relèvent d’une complexité méthodologique dans la pensée de Foucault. Nous montrons comment ces thèmes sont engagés par Foucault, dans un rapport loin d’être négatif ou paradoxal mais qui instaure leur complémentarité et qui les amène à cohabiter dans son œuvre. Pour ce faire, et dans un second temps, nous revenons alors sur la conception foucaldienne de l’histoire au sein de laquelle nous contextualisons ces deux thèmes dans leurs propres places théoriques et méthodologiques. Au final, nous verrons que ces conceptions de continuité, de discontinuité et ainsi sa définition de l’histoire ne sont pas possibles que par une lecture que Foucault a faite de Nietzsche pour bâtir une pensée de « singularité » et éviter à tout prix ne pas fonder ces recherches sur une théorie de la connaissance.

L’AUTEUR
Kaveh Dastooreh a obtenu en 2011 son diplôme de doctorat en sociologie à l’Université Paris V – René Descartes – Sorbonne. Il a des expériences d’enseignements dans des universités françaises comme Université de Paris Descartes et Université d’Évry Val d’Essonne, ainsi qu’à l’étranger. Il a publié un ouvrage en 2015 chez L’Harmattan intitulé : “Vers une sociologie foucaldienne”. Il a également traduit la série de livres de “L’Histoire de la sexualité de Michel Foucault”, du français au kurde. Il est membre de l’Association internationale des sociologues.

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leshemDotan Leshem, The Origins of Neoliberalism: Modeling the Economy from Jesus to Foucault, Columbia University Press, 2016

Dotan Leshem recasts the history of the West from an economic perspective, bringing politics, philosophy, and economics closer together and revealing the significant role of Christian theology in shaping economic and political thought. He begins with early Christianity’s engagement with economic knowledge and the influence of this interaction on politics and philosophy. He then follows the secularization of economics in liberal and neoliberal theory, showing it to be a perversion of earlier communitarian tradition. Only by radically relocating the origins of modernity in late antiquity, Leshem argues, can we confront neoliberalism.

Introduction: Economy Before Christ
1. From Oikos to Ecclesia
2. Modeling the Economy
3. Economy and Philosophy
4. Economy and Politics
5. Economy and the Legal Framework
6. From Ecclesiastical to Market Economy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dotan Leshem is senior lecturer in the department of government and political theory at the School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa.

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