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To Die is to Become: Death and the Self in the Philosophy of Foucault


Philosopher and historian Michel Foucault is best known for his profoundly influential scholarship on the history of knowledge, sexuality, madness, power, and the body. Less noted, though present in nearly all of his work, is the philosopher’s fascination with death. In this Olio we will explore Foucault’s ideas about death, and how these ideas shaped his larger works on sexuality and the modern self. What is the relationship, for example, between the policing of sexual deviance and death?


We will grapple with Foucault’s controversial ideas about suicide, the state’s power to compel us to live, and most importantly, we will explore Foucault’s claim that death is a primary site for becoming what one is. “It is in death,” Foucault claimed, “that the individual becomes at one with himself, escaping from the monotonous lives and their leveling effect; in the slow, half-subterranean, but already visible approach of death, the dull, common life, at last becomes an individuality…and gives it the style of its truth.”




Location: Berg'n

899 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Hip, late-night beer hall featuring microbrews & food vendors in a spacious, industrial-chic venue. Classes will be held in the private room.


Other upcoming Olios


Jul 22

Immoral Art?

Taught by Jeanne Proust
3 p.m. at Mathew Gallery

Sign Up - $15

Jul 26

A Dog Named Ego

Taught by Michael Prettyman
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jul 28

NYC Poetry Festival | Revolutionary Letters, Confronting the Times

Taught by Jessica Rogers
1 p.m. at Governors Island

Sign Up - $10

Jul 28

NYC Poetry Festival | Sekou Sundiata & Radical Citizenship

Taught by Brian Lewis
3:30 p.m. at Governors Island

Sign Up - $10

Jul 29

NYC Poetry Festival | The Dangerous Pleasure of Art

Taught by Geoff Klock
3:30 p.m. at Governors Island

Sign Up - $10

Jul 29

NYC Poetry Festival | Poetry of Loneliness and Collaboration

Taught by Heather O'Neill
1 p.m. at Governors Island

Sign Up - $10

Jul 31

Immersive Listening - Bowie's "Low"

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $15

Aug 21

The Poetry in Piledrivers: Pro-wrestling as Art

Taught by Ben Abelson
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15


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