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Understanding Foucault, Understanding Modernism

Michel Foucault continues to be regarded as one of the most essential thinkers of the twentieth century. A brilliantly evocative writer and conceptual creator, his influence is clearly discernible today across nearly every discipline-philosophy and history, certainly, as well as literary and critical theory, religious and social studies, and the arts. This volume exploits Foucault's insistent blurring of the self-imposed limits formed by the disciplines, with each author in this volume discovering in Foucault's work a model useful for challenging not only these divisions but developing a more fundamental interrogation of modernism. Foucault himself saw the calling into question of modernism to be the permanent task of his life's work, thereby opening a path for rethinking the social. Understanding Foucault, Understanding Modernism shows, on the one hand, that literature and the arts play a fundamental structural role in Foucault's works, while, on the other hand, it shifts to the foreground what it presumes to be motivating Foucault: the interrogation of the problem of modernism. To that end, even his most explicitly historical or strictly epistemological and methodological enquiries directly engage the problem of modernism through the works of writers and artists from de Sade, Mallarme, Baudelaire to Artaud, Manet, Borges, Roussel, and Bataille. This volume, therefore, adopts a transdisciplinary approach, as a way to establish connections between Foucault's thought and the aesthetic problems that emerge out of those specific literary and artistic works, methods, and styles designated "modern." The aim of this volume is to provide a resource for students and scholars not only in the fields of literature and philosophy, but as well those interested in the intersections of art and intellectual history, religious studies, and critical theory.
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Table of Contents

Series Preface List of Abbreviations Introduction: Foucault's Modernisms David Scott, Coppin State University, USA Part 1. Conceptualizing Foucault 1. The Origin of Parresia in Foucault's Thinking: Truth and Freedom in The History of Madness Leonard Lawlor and Daniel J. Palumbo, Penn State University, USA 2. The Secret of the Corpse-Language Machine: The Birth of the Clinic and Raymond Roussel David Scott, Coppin State University, USA 3. Intersections of the Concept and Literature in TheOrder of Things: Foucault and Canguilhem Samuel Talcott, University of the Sciences, USA 4. Archeology of Knowledge: Foucault and the Time of Discourse Heath Massey, Beloit University, USA 5. Carceral, Capital, Power: The `Dark Side' of the Enlightenment in Discipline and Punish Christopher Penfield, Purdue University, USA 6. Foucault's History of Sexuality Chloe Taylor, University of Alberta, Canada Part 2. Foucault and Aesthetics 7. Technologies of Modernism: Historicism in Foucault and Dos Passos Christopher Breu, Illinois State University, USA 8. Thought as Spirituality in Raymond Roussel Ann Burlein, Hofstra University, USA 9. Life Escaping: Foucault, Vitalism, and Gertrude Stein's Life-Writing Sarah Posman, Ghent University, Belgium 10. The Specter of Manet: A Contribution to the Archaeology of Painting Joseph Tanke, University of Hawaii, USA 11. The Hermaphroditic Image: Modern Art, Thought and Experience in Michel Foucault Nicole Ridgway, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA Part 3. Glossary Archaeology Heath Massey, Beloit College, USA The "Author-Function" Seth Forrest, Coppin State University, USA Biopower Chloe Taylor, University of Alberta, Canada Discipline Steve Tammelleo, University of San Diego, USA Episteme Samuel Talcott, University of the Sciences, USA Genealogy Brad Elliot Stone, Loyola Marymount University, USA Power Brad Elliot Stone, Loyola Marymount University, USA Problematization Daniele Lorenzini, University Paris-Est Creteil, France Transgression Janae Scholtz, Alvernia University, USA Truth Marc De Kesel, Saint Paul University, Canada Subjectivation Mark Murphy, University of Glasgow, UK Notes on Contributors Index

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Explores and illuminates Foucault's profound impact on our understanding of literary modernism.

About the Author

David Scott is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Philosophy Program at Coppin State University, Baltimore, MD, USA. Originally trained as a fine arts painter, he holds a doctorate in Literature from the University of Virginia and a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Memphis. He is the author of Gilbert Simondon's Psychic and Collective Individuation (2014), along with several published articles and chapters on Bergson, Heidegger, Deleuze, and Merleau-Ponty, and translator of Deleuze's first published work on Hume's philosophy. Scott publishes on intersections of art and philosophy, as well as on race and social and political theory.


Foucault's radical and incisive analysis of modernity has had a transformative effect on our understanding of history. This wide-ranging volume allows us to connect that analysis to his more neglected account of aesthetic modernism. It gives us a fuller and richer picture of a thinker who remains indispensable. * Simon During, Australian Research Professor, University of Queensland, Australia * David Scott has brought together an exceptional group of scholars to explore the range of Foucault's penetrating analysis of modernity. The tripartite structure of the volume-which includes close readings of Foucault's major books, analyses of Foucault's engagements with modernist literature and art, and a glossary of Foucault's key concepts-makes this a delightfully accessible and comprehensive guide to Foucault's work. * Daniel W. Smith, Professor of Philosophy, Purdue University, USA * Michel Foucault (1926-84) devoted path-breaking works of critical analysis to deciphering "games of truth." One of his notable preoccupations was the problem of historical discourse and its pronounced tendency toward periodization. The essays in the present, handsomely designed volume trace the mercurial philosopher's many lines of inquiry converging on the problematic notion of modernity. Like other volumes in the Understanding Philosophy, Understanding Modernism series, the book comprises three main sections, one on conceptualizing, another on aesthetics, and a third offering a glossary. Most of the 19 contributors are young scholars working in the areas of philosophy, English, art, ethics, and religion-a range that lends this collection a cutting-edge flavor-and most are from North America, though universities abroad are represented. The essays in the first two sections are well crafted, insightful, and scholarly; the brief glossary and essays in part 3 highlight Foucault's pivotal terms and make the volume especially useful for nonspecialists. ... Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. * CHOICE *

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