Foucault and Deleuze came into prominence in European philosophy after the second world war. Both were critical of “humanist” assumptions in the interpretation of political and social life and interested in the theme of desire, its repression, and the political implications thereof. They argued, differently, that the humanist model of the individual is itself a reflection of a distinct set of power structures that had already co-opted desire and limited its possibilities. We’ll read a few texts from these authors, exploring their critique of humanism and their discussions of the nature of desire, political institutions, and power. Texts could include Discipline and Punish, History of Sexuality, Birth of the Clinic, Anti-Oedipus, and A Thousand Plateaus.
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