WGSS 336
Foucault Now
Last Offered Spring 2023
Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed PHIL 326
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

If we think of Michel Foucault as engaged in writing histories, or genealogies, of his own present designed to undercut the sense of the obviousness of certain practices and ways of thinking, categorizing, and knowing, we can easily imagine that he might now be questioning different aspects of our contemporary “present” than the ones standardly associated with his name, namely, panopticons and surveillance, discipline, criminalization, the biopolitics of health, the normal and the abnormal, etc. In this course we address the question: How is the present we find ourselves living today different from the one that the author Foucault wrote about in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s before his untimely death in 1984? What differentiates today from yesterday? And what present practices and ways of thinking and knowing might be questioned using Foucault’s tools, genealogy in particular, for resisting unnecessary constraints on freedom and the perpetuation of unnecessary suffering? What is his legacy today? In this tutorial you will read from a selection of Foucault’s texts (books, lectures, interviews) in order to acquire a firm grasp of his method of “critique” and his way of looking at the interconnections between forms of power and the knowledge associated with particular disciplines. We will also read more recent work by Foucault inspired scholars on topics such as the biopolitics of gender, the genealogy of terrorism, the informational person (how we become our data), and neoliberal subjects.
The Class: Format: tutorial; I may use a seminar format at least twice during the semester.
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 4005
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on written work (six 5- to 6-page papers, and six 2-3 page commentaries on their partner's papers) as well as the quality and level of preparation and intellectual engagement in our weekly meetings.
Prerequisites: Relevant background in critical theory, social theory, political theory or philosophy.
Enrollment Preferences: I will give preference to philosophy majors and to upper class students with a demonstrated background in critical theories. Some sophomores may be eligible.
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 336 Division II PHIL 326 Division II
WS Notes: This is a tutorial. Students will write five or six 5-6-page papers during the course of the the semester and receive significant feedback on each paper. At the end of each tutorial meeting the student is asked to reflect on how they would approach the paper differently if they were to rewrite it.
DPE Notes: In this course we address power and domination, reflect on the difference between them, and treat power relations as not only an inevitable feature of any society, but as both enabling and constraining. Moreover, we will read material that uses Foucauldian tools to address contemporary issues involving sexism and racism, digital surveillance, and the abolition of prisons.
Attributes: PHIL History Courses

Class Grid

Updated 7:37 am
  • HEADERS Column header 1
    Column header 2
    Column header 3
    Column header 4
    Column header 5
  • WGSS 336 - TUT Foucault Now
    WGSS 336 TUT Foucault Now
    Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
    Not offered

Course Catalog Search

(searches Title and Course Description only)



Start Time
End Time