"What is a Dispositif?"
Dispositif Theory and the Philosophy of Technics
Blockseminar with Guest Professor Gregg Lambert
Sept. 18th- 28th 2018
2-5 pm (mo-fr)
Gregg Lambert is Dean’s Professor of Humanities, Principal Investigator, CNY Humanities Corridor Founding Director, Humanities Center, Syracuse University, U.S.A. For CV and publications, see www.gregglambert.com, as well as his page on www.academia.edu.
First meeting: 18th of September 2018
14:00 – 17:00 at ATTP seminar space
Download the pdf leaflet here.
“What is a Dispositif?”
Dispositif Theory and the Philosophy of Technics
This seminar will study the genealogy of the concept of dispositif (mechanism, conceptual device) in the biopolitical philosophy of Michel Foucault. Following the influence of biologist and historian Georges Canguilhem, beginning in works and lectures of 1975, Foucault employs this term specifically to avoid three other dominant terms in the history of political philosophy: organism, machine, and structure. The uniqueness of Foucault’s approach to the nature of power is that he combines both biological and technical forms in explaining its evolutionary path, which becomes more multiple and dispersed throughout modern societies, and which differentiates its concept from the idea of mechanism that belongs to modern science after Descartes. Thus, the major result of Cartesianism was “to rationalize” the idea of mechanism as a knowledge that is particular to the human species, and not as a biological capacity that is found to be present in most living organisms. In turn, this was responsible for anthropomorphizing the relation between machine and organism, introducing a fundamental dehiscence between these forms, one that continues to be played out today in determining the relations between humans, animals, and cybernetic (or digitalized) creatures.
In addition to the major works and lectures of Foucault that appear between 1975-1979, from the first volume of The History of Sexuality to the lecture course on The Birth of Biopolitics, in this seminar we will also examine the critical reception of Foucault’s description of power and its biopolitical dispositifs in other thinkers such as Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze, and Roberto Esposito.
Each three-hour seminar will consist of lecture presentation, in the first hour, followed by close examination and discussion of the assigned readings. The Seminar will be taught in English. Seminar papers written in German will also be accepted.
Agamben, Giorgio (2009) What is an Apparatus? Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.
Althusser, Louis(2001) Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays. New York: Monthly Review Press.
Campbell, Timothy(2006) “Bios, Immunity, Life: The Thought of Roberto Esposito, diacritics36.2: 2–22.
Canguilhem, Georges (2008), Knowledge of Life, ed. Paola Marrati and Todd Meyers. New York: Fordham.
Deleuze, Gilles (1992) “What is a dispositif?” in Armstrong, Timothy, ed. Michel Foucault Philosopher. New York: Routledge.
__________ (2006) Two Regimes of Madness: Texts and Interviews 1975-1995. New York: Semiotexte.
__________ (1995) “Postscript on Control Society,” Negotiations. New York: Columbia University Press, 177-182.
Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari (1987) A Thousand Plateaus,trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Esposito, Roberto(2015) Two: The Machine of Political Theology and the Place of Thought. Fordham UP.
Foucault, Michel(1976) L’Histoire de la sexualité. Vol I: La Volonté de savoir Paris: Gallimard.
___________ (1977) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage Books.
___________ (1980a) The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: An Introduction.New York: Vintage Books. __________ (1980b) Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977, ed. C. Gordon. New York: Pantheon Books.
___________ (1994a) Dits et écrits, vol. 4. Paris: Éditions Gallimard.
___________ (1994b) Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth., Vol 1. Ed. Paul Rabinow. New York: The New Press.
___________ (2003) “Society must be defended”: Lectures at the College of France 1975-1976, ed. Mauro Bertani and Alessandro Fontana. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
___________ (2004a) Abnormal: Lectures at the College of France 1975-1976, ed. Mauro Bertani and Alessandro Fontana. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
___________ (2004b) Sécurité, territoire, population: Cours au Collège de France, 1977-1978. Paris: Gallimard/Seuil.
__________ (2007) Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the College of France, 1977-1978, ed. Michael Senellart. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
__________ (2008) The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College of France, 1978-1979,ed. Michael Senellart, Francois Ewald and Alessandro Fontana (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).
Lambert, Gregg(2018) “Biopower and Biopolitics” Bloomsbury Handbook of Literary Criticism and Theory.
Pasquinelli, Matteo(2015) “What an Apparatus is Not: On the Archeology of the Norm in Foucault, Canguilhem, and Goldstein,”Parrehesia, no. 22, 79-89.
Cary Wolfe(2018) “Posthumanism Thinks the Political: A Genealogy for Foucault’s Birth of Biopolitics.” Journal of Posthuman Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2017, 117-135.