Michel Foucault: Free Lectures on Truth, Discourse & The Self (UC Berkeley, 1980-1983)

Image by Nemomain, via Wikimedia Commons

Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was an enormously influential French philosopher who wrote, among other things, historical analyses of psychiatry, medicine, the prison system, and the function of sexuality in social organizations. He spent some time during the last years of his life at UC Berkeley, delivering several lectures in English. And happily they were recorded for posterity:

These last lectures are also available on YouTube (in audio format).

One of Foucault’s more controversial and memorable books was Discipline and Punish (1977), which traced the transition from the 18th century use of public torture and execution to–less than 50 years later–the prevalence of much more subtle uses of power, with a focus on incarceration, rehabilitation, prevention, and surveillance.

Here he is in 1983 commenting on that book (thanks for the link to Seth Paskin). The Partially Examined Life podcast recently discussed the book with Katharine McIntyre, doctoral candidate at Columbia. Foucault’s image of the panopticon well captures modern privacy concerns in the electronic age.

Finally, we leave you with a Schoolhouse Rock-style presentation of Foucault’s book The History of Sexuality, Volume 1 and some vintage video of Foucault’s 1971 debate with Noam Chomsky. Foucault’s lectures have been added to our list of Free Philosophy Courses, part of our big collection, 1,700 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

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Mark Linsenmayer runs the Partially Examined Life philosophy podcast and blog. He also performs with the Madison, WI band New People.

Related Content:

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Philosophy with a Southern Drawl: Rick Roderick Teaches Derrida, Foucault, Sartre and Others

100 Free Online Philosophy Courses (Part of Our List of 875 Free Courses Online)

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Comments (18)
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  • claudia says:

    gracias por este sitio.

  • claudia says:

    quiero recibir actualizaciones..gracias.

  • Camy says:

    Thanks for sharing. I feel grateful to have discovered this source of endeless Knowledge and Culture. I am going to listen Foucault lectures asap. To me he’s one of the most enlighted thinker of our times.

  • Marcelo Martu00ednez Cuevas says:

    Great job you’re doing here!!… just a little mistake, the panopticon isn’t Foucault’s but Bentham’s, although Foucault did talk about it… keep the good work!

  • Marcelo Martu00ednez Cuevas says:

    Great job you’re doing here!!… just a little mistake, the panopticon isn’t Foucault’s but Bentham’s, although Foucault did talk about it… keep the good work!!

  • magdalena says:

    Are the Berkeley links not working or is it just me?

  • red says:

    a great source of entertainment; many thanx. That one of the greatest can be brought forward by technology and not only in reading…. very very rare

  • Cindy Forshaw says:

    Stop nit-picking. We know you’re smart. Who cares who said it…Just know it.

  • Cindy Forshaw says:

    This in wrong spot …is addressed to the person who counters that Foucault didn’t suggest the concept of The Panopticon. My teachings say he did anyway. That’s why I say again: “Stop nit-picking”. Bentham …Foucault….Take the info…fascinating concept and stop ‘levelling’ people.

  • Mahrukh Bokhari says:

    You are doing a wonderful job. Keep up the good work.

  • Pedro del Rio says:

    There nobody says that it is a concept of his, but the image that Foucault has of this idea.

  • Janie Massry says:

    Open Culture is an incredible way to review what you know
    Learn what you never knew
    Open your mind
    I send this site to many friends and family

  • Jaylaxmi jadeja says:

    Interested in receiving content from open culture.

  • Jack and Daneil says:

    What content would you like?

  • pat says:

    I does matter that the history of ideas is accurate. It is not nit picking.Your teachings can say whatever you decide you want them to be, but do make them accurate.

  • Rajendra Prasad Koirala says:

    I am from Nepal I have read several articles and essays on any philosophical issues by Michael Foucault. Listening to him live will be like my dream come true.

    With best regards,
    Rajendra Prasad Koirala

  • Rajendra Prasad Koirala says:

    Looking forward to , impatiently.

  • golam mostofa says:

    That’s good but, looking forward to your next post

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