2008-09 Seminar Series: Michel Foucault’s The Birth of Biopolitics

November 2008 – May 2009
New York, NY

This program was funded by a mini-grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.

About the Seminar:

Michel Foucault’s The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France, 1978-1979 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)–the latest in the series of his lectures from the mid-1970s to be translated into English–is remarkably relevant today. Our year-long public seminar pursued Foucault’s question: What is at stake in liberalism? How do liberal governments produce governable subjects-individuals who consent to be governed? We situated the lectures in the context of Foucault’s better known work (e.g. Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality), discussed what he means by biopolitics, considered how the lectures develop his theory of power-knowledge, and debated how this text can help us to refine our understanding of Foucault’s intellectual and political project.

The seminar met monthly from November 2008 through June 2009. Offering both an accessible introduction to Foucault’s work and close critical study of Foucault’s lectures, this seminar was open to people with all levels of experience.

Schedule of Meetings:

Fall 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008, 7:00-9:00pm
CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 5409
Faculty Facilitator: Eduardo Mendieta
Chapter 1: pages 1-25

Thursday, December 5, 2008, 7:00-9:00pm
CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 5409
Faculty Facilitator: Eduardo Mendieta
Chapter 2: pages 27-50

Winter-Spring 2009

**All meetings took place from 7:00-9:30pm at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, 35 W. 67th St.**

Thursday, February 5, 2009
Faculty Facilitators:  Ananya Mukherjea and Rafael de la Dehesa
Chapter 3:  pages 51-74

Thursday, February 19, 2009
Faculty Facilitators:  Samuel Binkley and Jeffrey Bussolini
Chapters 4 & 6:  pages 75-100 & 129-157

Thursday, March 12, 2009
Faculty Facilitator:  Jeffrey Bussolini
Chapter 5:  pages 101-128

Thursday, April 2, 2009
Faculty Facilitators:  Patricia Clough and Jonathan Cutler
Chapters 7 & 8:  pages 159-184 & 185-214

Thursday, April 23, 2009
Faculty facilitators:  Trent Hamann and Alan Rosenberg
Chapters 9 & 10:  pages 215-238 & 239-265

Friday, May 8, 2009
Faculty facilitators:  Trent Hamann and Alan Rosenberg
Chapters 11 & 12: pages 267-290 & 291-316; Course Summary: pages 317-325

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Concluding Roundtable Program
and Reception sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, Stony Brook University
Stony Brook Manhattan, 387 Park Ave South, NYC

For Faculty Biographies, click here.

Seminar Co-Directors: 
Shifra Diamond, Ph.D. Candidate, George Washington University 
Michael Jolley, Ph.D. Candidate, The Graduate Center, CUNY