The Orient: Foucault’s Achilles’ Heel

A talk and discussion with Marnia Lazreg

Non-Western Subjugated Knowledges and Michel Foucault’s Limit Experience

Foucault was a critic of Western culture and rationality. However, in his travels in the Orient (Tunisia, Iran and Japan), he claimed these cultures were incomprehensible because they belong to a different rationality. This talk will explore the intellectual sources of Foucault’s anti-humanist approach to non-western cultures as it documents his personal disorientation and struggles in Tunisia, Iran and Japan.

Marnia Lazreg is professor of sociology at the Graduate Center and Hunter College, City University of New York. Her research focuses on social theory, international development, cultural movements, colonial history, and gender in the Middle East. Her recent publications include, Foucault’s Orient: The Conundrum of Cultural Difference, From Tunisia to Japan (Berghahn, 2017); The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question, 2nd edition (Routledge, 2018); Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algeria to Baghdad (Princeton, 2017 paperback).