In 1980, Michel Foucault began a vast project of research on the relationship between subjectivity and truth, an examination of conscience, confession, and truth-telling that would become a crucial feature of his life-long work on the relationship between knowledge, power, and the self. The lectures published here offer one of the clearest pathways into this project, contrasting Greco-Roman techniques of the self with those of early Christian monastic culture in order to uncover, in the latter, the historical origin of many of the features that still characterize the modern subject. They are accompanied by a public discussion and debate as well as by an interview with Michael Bess, all of which took place at the University of California, Berkeley, where Foucault delivered an earlier and slightly different version of these lectures.
Foucault analyzes the practices of self-examination and confession in Greco-Roman antiquity and in the first centuries of Christianity in order to highlight a radical transformation from the ancient Delphic principle of “know thyself” to the monastic precept of “confess all of your thoughts to your spiritual guide.” His aim in doing so is to retrace the genealogy of the modern subject, which is inextricably tied to the emergence of the “hermeneutics of the self”—the necessity to explore one’s own thoughts and feelings and to confess them to a spiritual director—in early Christianity. According to Foucault, since some features of this Christian hermeneutics of the subject still determine our contemporary “gnoseologic” self, then the genealogy of the modern subject is both an ethical and a political enterprise, aiming to show that the “self” is nothing but the historical correlate of a series of technologies built into our history. Thus, from Foucault’s perspective, our main problem today is not to discover what “the self” is, but to try to analyze and change these technologies in order to change its form.
Giorgio Agamben University of Minnesota Press, 1993 Library of Congress B105.C46A4313 1993 | Dewey Decimal 301.01
Feeling in Theory
Rei TERADA Harvard University Press, 2001 Library of Congress B815.T47 2001 | Dewey Decimal 128.37
The First Person Singular
Alphonso Lingis Northwestern University Press, 2007 Library of Congress BD450.L5193 2007 | Dewey Decimal 126
Alphonso Lingis’s singular works of philosophy are not so much written as performed, and in The First Person Singular the performance is characteristically brilliant, a consummate act of philosophical reckoning. Lingis’s subject here, aptly enough, is the subject itself, understood not as consciousness but as embodied, impassioned, active being. His book is, at the same time, an elegant cultural analysis of how subjectivity is differently and collectively understood, invested, and situated.
The subject Lingis elaborates in detail is the passionate subject of fantasy, of obsessive commitment, of noble actions, the subject enacting itself through an engagement with others, including animals and natural forces. This is not the linguistic or literary subject posited by structuralism and post-structuralism, nor the rational consciousness posited by post-Enlightenment philosophy. It is rather a being embodied in both a passionate, intensifying activity and a cultural collective made up of embodied others as well as the social rituals and practices that comprise this first person singular.
The Subject and Other Subjects theorizes the differences among ethical, aesthetic, and political conceptions of identity. When a person is called beautiful, why does it strike us as an objectification? Is a person whom we consider to be an exemplary person still a person, and not an example? Can one person conceive what it means to have the perspective of a community? This study treats these thorny issues in the context of recent debates in cultural studies, feminism, literary criticism, narrative theory, and moral philosophy concerning the nature and directions of multiculturalism, post-modernity, and sexual politics.
Tobin Siebers raises a series of questions that "cross the wires" among ethical, aesthetic, and political definitions of the self, at once exposing our basic assumptions about these definitions and beginning the work of reconceiving them. The Subject and Other Subjects will broaden our ideas about the strange interplay between subjects and objects (and other subjects!) that characterizes modern identity, and so provoke lively debate among anthropologists, art historians, literary theorists, philosophers, and others concerned with how the question of the subject becomes entangled with ethics, aesthetics, and politics. As Siebers argues, the subject is in fact a tangled network of subjectivities, a matrix of identities inconceivable outside of symbols and stories.
Tobin Siebers is Professor of English at the University of Michigan, and author of Cold War Criticism and the Politics of Skepticism; Morals and Stories; The Ethics of Criticism; The Romantic Fantastic; and The Mirror of Medusa.
Seeking to move beyond the customary limits of archaeological prose and representation, Subjects and Narratives in Archaeology presents archaeology in a variety of nontraditional formats. The volume demonstrates that visual art, creative nonfiction, archaeological fiction, video, drama, and other artistic pursuits have much to offer archaeological interpretation and analysis.
Chapters in the volume are augmented by narrative, poetry, paintings, dialogues, online databases, videos, audio files, and slideshows. The work will be available in print and as an enhanced ebook that incorporates and showcases the multimedia elements in archaeological narrative. While exploring these new and not-so-new forms, the contributors discuss the boundaries and connections between empirical data and archaeological imagination.
Both a critique and an experiment, Subjects and Narratives in Archaeology addresses the goals, advantages, and difficulties of alternative forms of archaeological representation. Exploring the idea that academically sound archaeology can be fun to create and read, the book takes a step beyond the boundaries of both traditional archaeology and traditional publishing.