Clare O’Farrell, Tool-boxes and rolling marbles: The far-flung applications of Michel Foucault’s work (2016)
Date: Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 11:30am-1:00pm
A Block, Level 3, Conference Room 330
QUT, Kelvin Grove Campus
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Entry is free but please register with Eventbrite by Monday, 29th August 5:00pm
This paper was originally delivered as a keynote presentation to the Foucault @ 90 conference at Ayr in Scotland in June 2016.
Foucault famously said he was writing for users, not readers. He wanted his books to function as tooI-boxes to be deployed in the most applied of areas – he specifically names educators, magistrates, wardens, and conscientious objectors for instance. He also imagined his books as ‘rolling marbles’ that could be picked up and then sent elsewhere. Some 40 years after Foucault expressed these sentiments about his work, he has become the most cited theorist in the social sciences and humanities today. There has been a significant body of commentary on the reception of his ideas in the fields of philosophy, sociology, political theory and history and in applied fields such as education. But far less attention has been paid to some of the less obvious byways of knowledge and cultural expression where the marks of his work are to be found, areas which include acupuncture, dentistry, forestry, opera, graphic novels, even Doctor Who, to name but a few. In describing these unexpected appearances of Foucault’s work, I will be examining at the same time just what it is about his work that encourages such diversity and freedom in its uptake.
About the speaker
Dr. Clare O’Farrell is senior lecturer in the School of Cultural and Professional Learning at QUT. Her research interests include the work of Michel Foucault and its applications, and film and internet culture. She has published two books on Michel Foucault with Macmillan Press (1989) and SAGE (2005) and an edited book on applications of his work. She is currently completing a translation of Foucault’s work on film from French into English for Columbia University Press. She is a founding editor of the Q1 ranked Foucault Studies journal, editor of the Foucault News blog and maintains the michel-foucault.com site.
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