requiem for certainty

Archive for October 2008

Practices, Problems, Sites

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As a philosopher I have standard discipline-anxieties whenever confronted with some rather usual (but nonetheless perplexing) social scientific questions concerning how one should conceptualize, represent, and present one’s research where one take as their material for inquiry actually-functioning practices.  A great talk by James Clifford at the Center for Cultural Studies at UCSC the other week provided me with a much-needed bit of confidence in the face of my ongoing difficulties with these questions.  Clifford unashamedly noted that problems such as those I have been wrestling with are ones that he too faces in his present work even if they were not posed to him as problems back when he was a graduate student.  In short, my problems concerning these matters are not just my problems as a philosopher interested in taknig up social science into my work, but these are the problems which anyone in a similar position faces (or at least ought to face if they are sufficiently self-reflective).  A few notes, then, on these problems as they’ve been foisting themselves on me in recent months.  Provoked this time by Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life.

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Written by Colin Koopman

October 31, 2008 at 2:53 am

Foucault Pubs. & Presntns. & Work

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A quick update on some of my recent work on Foucault. First, a few pubs:

  • I recently published an article on Foucaultian methodology and the philosophy of history in a great new journal, Journal of the Philosophy of History.  The issue in which my paper came out also offers excellent articles on similar themes in Foucault by David Hoy, Mark Bevir, Martin Saar, Thomas Biebricher, and Tyler Krupp.  My paper can be found at:  Citation is as follows: Koopman, Colin. “Foucault’s Historiographical Expansion: Adding Genealogy to Archaeology” in Journal of the Philosophy of History, v2n3, Fall 2008: 338-362.
  • I have an article on philosophy of history in Foucault and Bernard Williams coming out in an excellent short collection being edited by Carlos Prado entitled Foucault’s Legacy and due out with Continuum within the next few months (I suspect). I’m not really making this available until the volume comes out but if you are eager you can always ask.
  • Another article is (and has been) forthcoming in Philosophy & Social Criticism (probably next year I hope).  This one offers an against-the-grain rereading of Disicpline and Punish and History of Madness. The title is “Revising Foucault: The History and Critique of Modernity”. I just put this up at SSRN at

In related work I also recently gave two presentations on Foucault both of which were great (for me, at least):

  • A paper on Foucault and Deleuze at SPEP. Thanks to Jana Sawicki, Paul Patton, Ed McGushin, Zach Vanderveen, and Jared Hibbard-Swanson for excellent questions. (The latter two, by the way, are grad students at Vanderbilt and Penn State, respectively, working on interesting dissertations which involve both Foucault and Dewey — obviously work that is very much after my own heart — so keep your eyes out for their stuff).
  • A paper on Foucault and Habermas in which I argue that the two can be reconciled for methodological purposes of a philosophically-informed social science. My many thanks to Ron Sundstrom for his wonderful comments. Also my many thanks to BACPA organizers Gerard Kuperus and Marjolein Oele — this is a great new venue for Continental Philosophy in the Bay Area.

All of this is part of a ms. on Foucaultian critique which I have recently finished the first draft of.  Next round of revisions coming up.  The working title is Genealogy as Problematization: Contingency, Complexity, and Critique in Foucault.

Written by Colin Koopman

October 31, 2008 at 2:30 am