Foto: Matthias Friel
Michel Foucault’s concept of biopolitics transformed how academic discourses approach power, agency, modernity, and, more broadly, life itself. As a critical theoretical tool, it refers to a form of modern governance that has evolved since the 18th century, in which the organization of and concern for “life” are at the center of politics and state intervention. This concerns the population as a whole as well as individual bodies. Prior to modernity, life was understood as being outside history, driven by independent natural and environmental processes. The novelty of our modern time consists in bringing life into human historicity and in investigating, through techniques of knowledge and power, the human body, its modes of subsistence, and its entire living space. This course will introduce students to the core components and theoretical lineages of biopolitics, exploring both its foundational texts and recent work that build on and challenge Foucault’s seminal writings.
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