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:

Jacques Lacan, Aca­d­e­m­ic Rock Star, Gives a Pub­lic Lec­ture, 1972

Lovers and Philoso­phers — Jean-Paul Sartre & Simone de Beau­voir Togeth­er in 1967

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)

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.