Later Foucault – Online
Towards the end of his life and career, Foucault wrote: 'Three domains of genealogy are possible. First, a historical ontology of ourselves in relation to truth through which we constitute ourselves as subjects of knowledge; second, a historical ontology of ourselves in relation to a field of power through which we constitute ourselves as subjects acting on others; third, a historical ontology in relation to ethics through which we constitute ourselves as moral agents.' He continued to be preoccupied with these three problems throughout his later career and sought to trace these out at the level of both the individual and the collective.
In the last two published volumes of the History of Sexuality, he continued his exploration of the question of what it means to be an individual and to be a subject through his exploration of ancient Greek, pagan and Christian approaches to sexuality and its regulation in an 'aesthetics of existence' and we shall explore these themes on the course. Turning to the collective, a number of the lectures he gave in the later stages of his life examine the emergence of the problems of 'governmentality' as state power comes to discern and wrestle with the management of a new political category: that of the 'population'. Foucault's analysis of this deepens and extends his earlier, more familiar, ruminations on the themes of 'power-knowledge' and are essential for anyone wanting to engage with the full complexities of his work.
The course will be run via Zoom, please make sure you have installed in in advance of your first class.
Who is this course for
This course is at Advanced level and so would not be suitable for people who are new to studying philosophy. It would be an ideal continuation course for students who have previously studied on our Intermediate level courses and who now want a course that will look at the work of a particular philosopher in some depth. It may also be suitable for people who have had some previous grounding in Philosophy and who now want to study in more depth.
Although you should have some previous experience of studying philosophy it is not expected that you need to have a great deal of familiarity with Foucault's later writings as this is what the course will aim to provide. Some previous familiarity with Foucault's work in general would, however, be advantage.
What does this course cover
Over the duration of the course, we will look at the last two volumes of the History of Sexuality: The Uses of Pleasure and the Care of the Self. We will supplement our reading of these texts with extracts from the 1982-83 Lectures on 'The Government of Self and Others'.
For the lectures on the problems of govermentality we will be looking in particular at 'Society Must be Defended' (1976), 'Security, territory, Population' (1977-78) and 'The Birth of Bio-Politics' (1978-79). The latter text is Foucault's astonishingly prescient and perceptive analysis of the phenomenon of neo-liberalism, just at the time it rose to prominence in global politics.
By the end of the course, you should be able to:
' Explain and analyse a variety of key concepts employed in Foucault's later work (e.g. parresia, governmentality, population)
' Assess the significance of Foucault's later work for our understanding of Ancient and Modern (contemporary) sense of selfhood, agency and ethics and of the conception of power developed in his later writings
' Relate this knowledge to wider philosophical debates concerning ethics, selfhood and politics.
What will it be like
The course will be run online using Zoom for the live class sessions and either the Moodle page for the course or some other system for the distribution of the electronic resources for the session sitting alongside this. Although there will be some adjustments that need to be made for the online version of this course, we will aim to keep the experience as close as possible to that of a face to face course taught in the Centre.
The course is an interactive mixture of tutor exposition, class discussion and group/pair work. Videos and clips will be used to supplement some of these class based activities. There are opportunities for further discussion and reading outside of the class via the course's Moodle website.
We will assess your expectations of the course in the first sessions. Thereafter, you will be able to monitor your progress on the course through participation in class discussion, questions and answers and in-class exercises. At the end of the course, you will be able to measure your progress against the stated outcomes for the course.
What else do you need to buy or do
The course will be run on Zoom, please make sure you have installed it in advance of your first class on your computer or mobile device. You can sign up for free here:
You will need a microphone (it's fine to use whatever is built into your device) and camera, so we can see you via video. You may also want to use headphones during the session.
You can participate in class sessions through the use of a computer, laptop, tablet or other similar internet enabled device. Please note that if you only have access to a smartphone, you will be able to attend the class sessions and participate in them but you will find it more difficult to benefit from the full range of materials and activities involved in the course if this is your only means of connection.
Make sure you have a small space to work in during the session and that as far as possible that you can keep this space quite and clear of interruption so that you can concentrate on what is happening in the class.
By signing up to the course you are consenting to being on camera. The content of the lesson may occasionally be recorded by the tutor for internal education and training purposes but any such recordings will not be made available to anyone outside of the Mary Ward Centre organisation without us asking you again for further permission to do so.
As we will be looking at a wide range of texts throughout the course, there is no expectation that you will need to buy all of the texts mentioned 'What Will The Course Cover'. Selections from these texts will be made available in electronic form so no additional purchases are necessary.
What this course could lead to
Other Advanced level Philosophy courses at the Mary Ward Centre or other similar establishments. Other courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences with a strong emphasis on theory and the study of the mind and human behaviour(e.g., Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, History).
I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.MWC student
This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria
Got a Question about this Course?
Contact The Departmental Administrator.
Why choose Mary Ward?
Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course
Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’