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

Jamie Warren at Berg'n

Thu, Jul 14 at 7:30 p.m.   |   90 minutes

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.”
Teacher: Jamie Warren

Jamie Warren has a Ph.D. in American History from Indiana University, and she is an Assistant Professor at BMCC-CUNY where she teaches American history, the history of women and gender, and women’s studies. Her research focuses on slavery in antebellum South with a particular focus on death, the body, and the philosophy of history.


Venue: Berg'n

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Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

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Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.