Fall 2019

The Political Theory of Michel Foucault

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-335


Thomas L. Dumm (Section 01)


This course will explore aspects of the political theory of Michel Foucault, examining different areas of his researches, across different eras of his intellectual life.

This year we will focus on two major works, Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality, Volume 1, and accompanying lectures and seminar explorations he undertook before and around the period of their publication. These works trace a move from his concern with what he called an “archeology of knowledge” to a “genealogy of power.” They also trace a shift from his focus on discipline and surveillance to governmentality and biopolitics. By carefully reading Foucault’s lectures and seminars from this period side by side with these famous books, students will reach an insight in the tactical and strategic choices to be made when writing for publication. By better understanding the context in which these books were written -- the shifting terrain of intellectual and political debate -- students will better understand the stakes involved in thinking through many of the urgent problems facing us now, including precarity, power, identity, world-homelessness and the Anthropocene.

Requisite: Must have taken two prior courses in POSC. Limited to 20 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Professor Dumm.

If Overenrolled: Preference will be given to Seniors and Political Science majors.


Attention to Research, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019