Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was a provocative and incredibly challenging thinker whose work confounds pigeonholing to this day. Usually tagged as a philosopher, an historian, or a cultural theorist, Foucault remains difficult to categorize because he transformed every field of inquiry into which he intervened. Yet there is a consistent logic in his work that unifies his studies in their heterogeneity: a logic of multiplicity.
In this course, we will examine a selection of historical and methodological works which highlight both the mutation of Foucault’s thought, as well as his continuing concerns with the relations among truth, power, and history. We will pay particular attention to the development, over the course of his career, of Foucault’s notions of the care of the self, governmentality, and biopolitics. Alongside extracts from major published works, we will examine interviews, lectures, and shorter essays, all of which enable a better appreciation of the evolving character of Foucault’s thought.