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Working Group 24/1 Michel Foucault and the History of Ideas. On the Archaeology of the History of Science (2011–2013)

Poster AG 24/1 (JPG)

Michel Foucault provided caricaturing remarks for the followers of a historical research, which for him remained in spite of all the sarcasm nonetheless a recurring object of examination – the history of ideas. Foucault's friction with it is to be considered a part of the history of science.  His productive conflict with the history of ideas spans from his early works about "The Birth of the Clinic" – still referred to as a study in the history of ideas – and "The Archaeology of Knowledge" – with probably the most obvious differentiation between one's own archaeology and the history of ideas – to his last books, the ethics of classical antiquity varying books about sexuality and the "Care of the self."

The Working Group "Foucault and the History of Ideas. On the Archaeology of the History of Science" was devoted firstly and more precisely to Michel Foucalt's relationship to the history of ideas from a scientific-historical perspective. Which texts and discourses about the history of ideas accompany Foucalt's examination with these research principles, which (current) positions of the history of ideas were known to Foucault – or not known – and in which form has this examination been received?

A second aspect was the rapprochement with the present renaissance of the history of ideas and Foucalt's part in it. The current return of the history of ideas would have likewise been something to take up as a theme like Foucalt's reception history in the 20th century and the start of the 21st century. Surprisingly, it was precisely due to the dedicated work of important German Foucault experts (Ulrich Raulff, Ulrich Johannes Schneider) over the past few years that the history of ideas had been experiencing a renewed acceptance as a historical and historical-political approach to research.

Thirdly, the Working Group should also provide the opportunity to consider in a broader sense the idea and the history of ideas of scientific-historical research. The new school of scientific history (Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Michael Hagner, Bettina Wahrig-Schmidt) from mid-1990's Berlin was based explicitly on Foucault. The latest trends of a so-called "history of knowledge" are likewise just as unthinkable without Foucault as these methodical renovations are impossible to imagine without reference to a "new history of ideas." Foucalt's work and the voltes of his reception history give general cause for comparative, idea-historical research and reflection on scientific history in its methods and policies.

The Working Group "Foucault and the History of Ideas. On the Archaeology of the History of Science" was organized by doctoral candidates of Philipps-Universität Marburg who participated in the Portal Ideengeschichte.

Conference "Michel Foucault und die Ideengeschichte"

The conference "Michel Foucault und die Ideengeschichte. Zur Archäologie der Wissensgeschichte" ("Michel Foucault and the History of Ideas. The Archaeology of the History of Knowledge") took place in Marburg on November 16 and 17, 2012. The event touched on topics from the history of science and the methodology of historical research as well as intellectual sociology. A panel discussion on "Interdisziplinarität – eine politische Idee und ihre Geschichte" ("Interdisciplinarity – a political idea and its history") was part of the conference.

Further information on the conference is available on the conference website, in the flyer (PDF) and the conference schedule (PDF).
Article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of November 20, 2012.

The contributions to the conference "Michel Foucault und die Ideengeschichte. Zur Archäologie der Wissensgeschichte" were published under the title "Foucault und/oder Ideengeschichte?" as a special issue of the journal "kultuRRevolution". With texts by Michael Bräustetter, Nicolai von Eggers, Holden Kelm, Jan-Paul Klünder, Martin G. Maier, Kalani Michell, Florian Mildenberger, Hans-Peter Neumann, Holger Oppenhäuser, Morten Paul, Jörg Probst and Nina Schumacher.

Former Members

  • Jan-Paul Klünder.
  • Nina Schumacher.
  • Jörg Probst.
  • Martin Maier.
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