In this lecture given by Stuart Elden earlier this month, the University of Warwick theorist discusses Michel Foucault’s work on subjectivity and truth during the last years of his life.
Foucault, who passed away in 1984, spent the last decade of his life investigating sexuality, giving a series of lectures from which many concepts would go on to be manifested in his last published work, the three volumes on the “History of Sexuality.”
Elden is currently working on a book for Polity Press entitled “Foucault’s Last Decade,” which delves into the litany of published and unpublished works, manuscripts and lectures that Foucault left behind after his untimely death.
Elden notes that the 3 volumes of the “History of Sexuality” went through many iterations, Foucault had initially planned to write a 6 volume work and toyed with different focuses of inquiry including paganism and the early Christian church.
Foucault’s last lectures and final work make a crucial turn, argues Elden, in that truth is no longer a category imposed upon populations (the criminal, the madman, etc), but rather something that emerges from an obligatory discourse on the self.
Elden’s rather lengthy introduction in the video on Foucault’s final works ends around the 13 minute mark, so those looking to just listen to Elden lecture on subjectivity and truth may want to skip ahead.
Check out Elden’s blog here.