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>From Sidi Bou Saïd, Rio de Janeiro to Uppsala or San Francisco, Michel Foucault’s thought bears the mark of travelling. These journeys, testimonies of an attempt to escape his own self, reveal the very core of a work that, as Carol Levasseur mentioned, has and will always trouble and embarrass historians and philosophers. Thanks to the many conferences that he held in Berkeley and Stanford and due to the research of H. Dreyfus and P. Rabinow, Foucault is still one of the most read and quoted French authors in North America. Foucault “the traveller”, Foucault “the foreigner”, left an everlasting footprint on the path he took from philosophy to history and on topics as diverse as criminality, sexuality, death and madness. His numerous trips in America, especially in Brazil, the United States and Canada, have undoubtedly contributed to the evolution of Michel Foucault’s thought, as was mentioned by his biographer Didier Éribon.

As we are situated at the very heart of one of Michel Foucault’s most liked continents and because we are at the crossroads of two strong traditions of thinking, French and Anglo-Saxon, the Department of Political Science of the University of Ottawa would like to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Michel Foucault’s death by holding a symposium on the theme: “Foucault, the American”. What is the perception in North America today of Foucault’s work? What influences did this continent (north and south) have on the evolution of his thought (e.g., access to knowledge, the sexual revolution)? Has the “foucaldism” definitely won? Is there a different Foucault in America? Does Foucault’s America still exist?

This symposium is not intended to only attract specialists in Foucault’s work. His “travelling” thought should give us the occasion to think about other topics at the edge of Foucault’s concerns: “americanity”; the success of French thought; the “Frog fog” in North America, where rationality usually seems to be so predominant; the impact of democratic access to knowledge and the importance of the individual’s rights on fields that have traditionally been elitist and codified; political liberties and resistance theories in the context of globalization and the rebirth of nationalist theories… This list could be a long one, but the very nature of this symposium is to be open to different voices. We want to allow young theorists to communicate their thoughts without straying too far from their theses.

As a result, we want to attract new professors and PhD candidates from different fields: political science, philosophy, sociology, history, psychology… As bilingualism is one of the prides of Ottawa U and because the influence of Michel Foucault’s thoughts has no linguistic borders, sessions will be held in either French or English. Some special arrangements for participants will be made for transportation and hospitality.

This symposium will take place on January 30-31 2004, in Ottawa. For more informations, please visit our web site: www.foucaultlamericain.ca.tc or contact:

Jeremie Valentin at jeremie.valentin@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Pierre Simonneau at Psimo024@xxxxxxxxxx

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