E 379S • Senior Seminar
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
In this course we will focus on the writings of the French theorist Michel Foucault. Originally trained as a philosopher of psychology, Foucault later described himself as a specialist in the history of systems of thought. More historically oriented than many theorists of his day, Foucault studied various structures of social control, discipline, and repression, analyzing the evolution of those structures over time. Foucault conducted archival research on a broad and intriguing array of topics, including the history of insanity, the development of the modern penal system, and the history of human sexuality.
Foucault was one of the principal theorists associated with the emergence of poststructuralism. In addition to Foucault's works, we will also study in less detail the thought of other representatives of that theoretical movement. These discourses, shaped by the political protests of the late sixties and early seventies, have profoundly altered the world of literary studies and human sciences. This course is ideal for students interested in the field of literary theory. It will also be helpful for those who wish to do graduate study and/or to improve their writing and critical reasoning skills. All works will be read in translation.
Note to prospective students: If this sounds like difficult material, as well as a lot of work, it is. Please keep that in mind as you decide whether or not to take this class.
One meditation--2 pages
One short paper--5 pages (submitted in two drafts)
Two peer critique--1 to 2 pages
One research paper 8-10 pages (submitted in two drafts)
The Order of Things, Madness and Civilization, "What is an Author?," Discipline and Punishment, The History of Sexuality, 3 vols., Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteeth-Century French Hermaphrodite, Power/Knowledge, Politics, Philosophy, and Culture
We will also read short selections from other critics, plus several secondary sources (books and essays) on poststructuralism and postmodernism.