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CAS 597 - Foucault and Rhetoric

As.Prof: Bradford Vivian
Office: 210 Sparks
Phone: 814-865-0945
Email: bjv113@psu.edu

This seminar will consist of deep investigations into major tenets of Michel Foucault’s system of thought. Foucault (1926-1984) was a French philosopher and historian associated with both structuralism and post-structuralism; his writings have been uncommonly influential within philosophy and throughout the humanities and social sciences since the late twentieth century. Major and minor aspects of his work are, by the same token, commonly subject to misinterpretation, both within rhetorical studies and across a number of cognate disciplines. The seminar will invite students to understand and evaluate Foucault’s philosophy as a coherent system of thought with continuing value for contemporary questions of language, truth, knowledge, power, and politics.

Course Objectives

  • To help students develop a meaningful facility with the work one of the most influential western thinkers from the late twentieth century forward.
  • To facilitate detailed and sustained examinations of major dimensions of Michel Foucault’s contributions to modern ideas about language, truth, knowledge, power, and politics.
  • To assess how and why self-described scholars of rhetoric have employed elements of Foucault’s philosophy in their own research.