Archive for the ‘Courses’ Category

Postmodernism and the Bible: Derrida and Foucault (2017)

7 week Course on openlearning.com
Starts: 13 Mar 2017 at 09:00 am
Convenor: Christopher Watkin

This course will help you see what Derrida and Foucault are really saying, and show you how you can bring their thought into conversation with the Bible. You will get an accessible introduction to the thought of two of the most influential French philosophers of recent decades, and you will learn methods for fostering meaningful engagement between philosophical ideas and biblical doctrine.

What will you gain from this course?
· An introductory overview to the work of two of the most important and influential postmodern thinkers of the twentieth century, whose ideas help shape our thinking today, including diagrams and explanations of key terms and quotations.

· A way of thinking about the bible that helps you bring it into conversation with philosophical ideas in an authentic and rigorous way.

· Weekly online discussion about the ideas and texts you are studying with an international community of fellow students who share your interest in the bible and postmodernism. This means that you get to learn from your fellow students, not just from the lecturer and tutor. You can comment, like, share documents, videos and images, and just chat or DM with people who share your interests.

· Through the online discussions you will gain a network of people interested in the same areas you are: friends, collaborators, mentors and mentees that you can keep in touch with once the course has finished.

· Expert help and support from a qualified tutor who will interact with your online discussions and help you with your questions.

· Helpful weekly multiple choice quizzes that enable you to track your learning.

· Weekly video lectures that include diagrams and real-time mark-up of texts.

· Recommended primary and secondary readings that allow you to explore Derrida, Foucault and the Bible for yourself.

· The option to complete a final assignment on a theme of your choice from the course, to share with your fellow students and to receive feedback from a qualified tutor. You can complete your assignment your way: a poster, a song, a poem, a video, a flash animation or a good old-fashioned essay.

Who is the course for?

Anyone interested in learning about two of the most important postmodern philosophers and how to bring their thought into conversation with the Bible.

More details

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Applications are now open for the July intake of the MA in Continental Philosophy at Western Sydney University.

Our MA is an 18-month program that is designed primarily as a degree program for those excellent and promising students who would like to continue in a doctoral program. To that end, we will actively support students who wish to continue their studies in a doctoral program elsewhere.

The MA is housed in the Philosophy Research Initiative of Western Sydney University, which is an active group of philosophers and graduate students who also share in the lively intellectual and cultural life of other universities and of Sydney, Australia.

We have two stipends ($2000) to support international students and we also have professional travel funding ($2000) available to all MA students. Details can be found here:

Please do not hesitate to direct any queries to either of us directly or to the departmental email address

Best regards,
Dennis Schmidt (Chair of Philosophy)
Dimitris Vardoulakis (Director of Graduate Studies)

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The Philosophy Research Initiative at Western Sydney University will be running a new MA in Continental Philosophy from 2016 (to replace Honours, which will no longer be available from 2016).

Members of the group have special expertise in Kant and post-Kantian German thought from Hegel to Nietzsche, the traditions of 20th-century French and German philosophy emerging out of phenomenology and existentialism and moving into Critical Theory, deconstruction, post-structuralism, and the more recent philosophical trends arising out of those movements. We are open to diverse issues, but place a special emphasis on questions of ethics, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, environmental philosophy, and the historical sense of those questions.

More information about the MA

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The Analytics of Power Today: A Masterclass with Mitchell Dean

Date: Monday, Dec. 14th, 2015
Time: 8:45am—6:00pm
Place: TBA, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

PDF of flyer

About the Masterclass
Over the last thirty years, we have witnessed three broad movements regarding power. The first is the displacement of the state from the centre of political analysis in favour of governance, networks and the energies found in civil society. The second is the rejection of sovereignty and its models, and notions of social structure, to stress the local, heterogeneous and contingent nature of power (Foucault and Deleuze). The third emphasizes the agency of the non-human, material and vital forces and actors (from Latour to Karen Barad). These three movements deconstruct the idea of power in different ways, denying that it has a source or can be possessed, and even depriving it of any explanatory value at all. In his recent book, The Signa-ture of Power, Mitchell Dean argues that such analyses only capture one pole of that which marks power relations. He proposes ways to analyse both governing and reigning, governmentality and sovereignty, different forms of life and the orders and laws of life, and how we can understand biopolitics, through four different analytical approaches. These might be called an analytics of government, a genealogy of order, an archaeology of glory, and an analytics of sovereignty. The challenge is to convert these into analytical frameworks capable of addressing empirical materials.

Mitchell Dean is Professor of Public Governance at the Copenhagen Business School. He is author of eight books, including Governmentality: Power and Rule in Modern Society, The Constitution of Poverty: Towards a Genealogy of Liberal Governance, The Signature of Power and State Phobia and Civil Society: the Political Legacy of Michel Foucault (forthcoming) He describes his work as at the nexus between political and historical sociology

No Cost: This masterclass has been fully supported by the ARC Governing Performance Project and the School of Social Science, University of Queensland.

RSVP: Alison Gable (a.gable@uq.edu.au) by Thurs, 15th October 2015 to register your interest to attend

Participation in the Masterclass
This Masterclass will dialogically engage with questions of analyzing power today in conversation with Professor Dean and other senior academics. A small number of preparatory readings will be made available prior to the day. The masterclass is of course open to anyone. As the event is limited to 25 participants, it is essential to register your interest early. Preference is given to PhD students and early career academics who are invited to present their own work for collegial discussion and feedback.

Participants who wish to present should submit up to two pages outlining their research, their theoretical approach to power, and their main analytical or conceptual challenges. Twelve papers will be selected and circulated to all participants in anticipation of their presentation and discussion at the Masterclass.

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20th Century Continental Philosophy Ph.D. Programs

Editor’s note: This is a very new project which has just gone up on the web. Contributions are invited!

This wiki’s goal is to provide an unranked yet searchable list of Ph.D. (and terminal M.A.) programs that have strengths in 20th (and early 21st) century continental philosophy throughout the world. To meet this goal, all readers should also think of themselves as editors. If you see anything that needs to be changed or added, please do so.

This wiki is part of a larger wikiproject to help prospective graduate students in philosophy identify programs with strengths in their areas of interest. Ideally links will be provided to the websites, CVs, and PhilPapers profiles of the relevant faculty at each program. If faculty are unable to take on new students, they should be omitted from this wiki. The wiki’s primary intended audience is prospective or current graduate students with interests in 20th century continental philosophy who want to get the lay of the land by seeing who works where, and on what.

This wiki is very much under construction. Many programs and faculty members that should be listed here are not yet here–simply because this wiki was started almost from scratch quite recently. If you can, please pitch in. Still, there is already much information here. So take a look.

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Foucault, Governmentality, Context: Contextualised analysis power (27 – 29 October 2014)

PhD School
Enroll no later than
Monday, 15 september, 2014 – 23:45


Mitchell Dean, Professor of Public Governance, CBS/University of Newcastle, Australia,

Michael Behrent, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Appalachian State University

Kaspar Villadsen, Associate Professor, Department of Management, Politics & Philosophy, CBS, Denmark.

Marius Gudmand-Høyer, Post.Doc. Scholar, Department of Management, Politics & Philosophy, CBS, Denmark.

Mads Peter Karlsen, Post.Doc., Institute of Theology, Copenhagen University.

Course coordinator
Kaspar Villadsen & Mitchell Dean

Only PhD students can participate in the course.

A precondition for receiving the course diploma is that the student attends the whole course.


The course will provide the participants with:

a) An updated introduction to key analytical concepts in the Governmentality literature, and the potentials and weaknesses of these concepts will be discussed.

b) Possibilities for supplementing the governmentality approach with other analytical sources will be discussed.

c) Furthermore, a detailed consideration of the current status of governmentality studies and post-Foucauldian studies will be given, in particular in light of recent claims for a crisis of critique.

d) Finally, suggestions will be presented on how to elaborate or move beyond the framework of governmentality by activating concepts of bio-power and sovereignty, reconsidering the social and notions of society, and focusing on international dimensions of governmentality.

In brief, the course aims to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the governmentality framework, that is, its analytical possibilities, its current status, and its possible directions of development.


Over the last 20 years, post-Foucauldian “governmentality studies” have come to growing prominence. These studies have been effective in critically analysing new types of liberal government, in particular by demonstrating ‘the active side of laissez faire’. They describe how the motto of ‘pulling back the state’ has been accompanied by a series of governmental strategies and technologies aimed at shaping institutions and subjects in particular ways. Perhaps most noticeably, they have presented a diagnosis of a proliferation of regimes of enterprise and accounting in new and surprising places. But a wide range of other domains have been subjected to governmentality analysis spanning from genetic screening and risk calculation, new crime prevention strategies, to health promotion by self-responsibilisation. To be sure, the concepts in governmentality studies continue to constitute effective tools for critical social analysis.

Nevertheless, in recent years critical objections have been raised against the governmentality approach. It has been noted by some observers that the Foucauldian and post-structuralist language, originally used for critical academic purposes, seems to be increasingly appropriated by ‘the powers’ that were the object of such critique. Most notably, this point has been voiced (although in different versions) by Zizek, Boltanski, and Hardt & Negri. These thinkers suggest that a post-structural ’politics of difference’ increasingly seems to be an integral part of the ways, in which institutions and companies organise themselves. If modern liberal government has begun to speak for the dissolution of binary essentials, the destabilisation of rigid power structures, the creation of space for the subject’s self-transforming work upon itself, and so on. In light of this development, we need to think of ways to revitalise the Foucauldian concepts of critique/criticism or to push a critical perspective beyond Foucault. A central theme of the PhD course is the search for effective analytical strategies for critique of power (some perhaps less noticed) in the works of Foucault and other writers within and outside the governmentality tradition.

The course gives importance to the need for contextualizing both the concepts that we use for making analysis, both in terms of being aware of how concepts emerge in a particular historical-political context that shape them. We shall hence discuss how to do intellectual history on recent thinkers, including Foucault himself. Foucault’s most intensive reflection on political questions was in the 1970s.  Given that the key source of his reflections here are lectures and interviews, we should attend to this reflection less as elaborated theory and more as a kind of performance in a definite context with specific interlocutors. A Foucault very different from his Anglo-American decontextualized reception as a theorist of omnipresent micropowers emerges if we do so. There are of contemporary events and political currents: European terrorism, state socialism, French Maoism, the Iranian Revolution, the prospects of a Socialist government in France, etc. But there are specific interlocutors including his assistants (Kreigel, Ewald), seminar participants (Pasquino, Procacci, Rosanvallon), colleagues (Donzelot, Castel, Deleuze), auditors, political fractions such as the Second Left and Italian autonomist Marxists.  If statements should be read in terms of what they do as much as what they mean, then the diverse trajectories of these thinkers are also relevant to reading Foucault’s political thought.

The course requires the submission of a paper that deals with conceptual problems or analytical designs in relation to Foucauldian inspired/governmentality studies. Furthermore, papers that apply Foucauldian concepts to empirical problems in a variety of domains are welcomed. It is also possible to participate on the basis of an abstract stating the theme of the PhD project. An abstract should be approximately 1 page, whereas a paper should be approx. 5 pages. In both cases, the PhD student should state his main analytical challenge/concern at his/her current stage in the project.

Papers/abstracts must be in English. Deadline for submission is 17 October 2014.

Teaching style 

The course will use lectures given by specialists in the field, roundtable discussions, and presentation of papers from PhD students.

Participation in the course requires a paper with an outline of PhD project or parts of the project. See more details above.

Lecture plan

Monday 27 October
10:00-12:30: Kaspar Villadsen: Analytical approaches in governmentality studies

12:30-13:30: Lunch

13:30-16:00: Mitchell Dean: Concepts and signatures of power in Foucualt

16:00-17:00: Kaspar Villadsen & Mitchell Dean: Papers from PhD scholars

Tuesday 28 October
10.00-12.30: Michael Behrent: Foucault and the context for his thought on power.

12:30-13:30: Lunch

13.30-15.00: Kaspar Villadsen: Technologies and organisations in Foucault

15.00-17.00: Kaspar Villadsen, Michael Behrent & Mitchell Dean: Papers from PhD scholars

Wednesday 29 October 
10:00-11:30: Mads P. Karlsen: Foucault’s Maoist militancy

11:00-12:30: Mitchell Dean: Foucault and neoliberalism

12.30-13.30: Lunch

13:30-15:00: Marius Gudmand-Høyer: Dispositive analysis: the key concept in Foucault?

15.00-16.00: Kaspar Villadsen, Mitchell Dean, Michael Behrent: Papers from PhD scholars

16:00-17:00: Kaspar Villadsen & Mitchell Dean: Concluding discussion and evaluation

Course literature 

Behrent, M. (2009) “Liberalism Without Humanism: Foucault and the Free Market Creed”, Modern Intellectual History, 6: 539-568.

Behrent, M. (2010) “Accidents happens: François Ewald, the ‘antirevolutionary Foucault”, and the intellectual politics of the French welfare state”, Journal of Modern History 82 (3): 585-624.

Dean, M. (2013) The Signature of Power: sovereignty, governmentality and biopolitics. Sage: London, chapters 2.3.4.

Dean, M. (2014) “Rethinking neoliberalism”, Journal of Sociology 50 (2): 150-163.

Dean, M. (2010) Governmentality: Power and Rule in Modern Societies (2nd edition). London: Sage (especially Introduction to Second Edition and chapter 1).

Foucault, M. (2007) Security, Territory, Population. New York: Palgrave Macmillan (especially lecture 1 & 5).

Foucault, M. (2008) The Birth of Biopolitics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan (especially lecture 12).

Deleuze, G. (1990) “Postscript on Control Societies”, in: G. Deleuze: Negotiations 1972-1990. New York: Columbia University Press

Karlsen, M.P. & Villadsen, K. & (2008) “Who Should Do the Talking? The proliferation of dialogue as governmental technology”, Culture & Organization, 14(4).

Karlsen, M.P. & Villadsen, K. (2014) “Investigate ‘The Intolerable’: Foucault’s Maoist inspirations”, New Political Science (forthcoming).

Mirowski, P. (2012) Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: how neoliberalism survived the financial meltdown. London: Verso, chs 2, 3.

Raffnsøe, S. & Gudmand-Høyer, M. The Dispositive, Unpublished article.

Villadsen, K. (2011) “Modern Welfare and ‘Good Old’ Philanthropy”, Public Management Review, 13(8): 1057–1075.

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Elisabetta Basso. Master’s seminar on “Michel Foucault and Epistemology” at the “Center for Knowledge Research” (“Innovationszentrum Wissensforschung” – IZW) at the Technische Universität in Berlin.

PDF of program

How should a thinker like Foucault, who―in his most famous work, Les mots et les choses―claimed to have “learned more”, as a philosopher, from biologists, linguists, economists “than from Kant or Hegel” be read? Although they are difficult to classify within traditional philosophical questioning (Foucault’s inquiries have indeed gone from the birth of psychiatry to the development of human sciences, from the study of criminal law and penal institutions to the problematization of the “hermeneutic” of the Western subject), the analytical tools outlined by the French philosopher are at the core of the present-day philosophical debate.
The proposed seminar intends to dwell in particular upon the contribution given by Foucault to the contemporary epistemological debate. Beginning with the “archaeological” distinction between “savoir” and “connaissance”, the seminar aims to analyze Foucault’s philosophical approach in the light of the French epistemological tradition and the manifold questions that the latter tackles regarding the role of philosophical thought as it relates to the empirical sciences with which it deals.

Key Words: Epistemology, Knowledge, Experience, Science, Rationality, Relativism, Subjectivity, Language, Historical A Priori.

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