1st Edition

The Japan Lectures A Transnational Critical Encounter

By Michel Foucault Copyright 2024
    198 Pages
    by Routledge

    198 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book makes available, for the first time in English, lectures and interviews that Foucault gave in Japan in 1978, reconstructing their context, and isolating the question of their singular relevance for us today. In these forgotten lectures, in a free and often informal style, Foucault explores, together with his Japanese interlocutors, what it would mean to take up, from outside Europe, the questions he was raising at the time about Revolution and Enlightenment in the traditions of European critical thought. In a series of wide-ranging discussions, on sexuality and its history, non-Christian forms of spirituality, new forms of political movements, and the role of knowledge, power, and truth in them, Foucault examines these questions in relationship to Asia. He had hoped these questions, very much debated at the time in postwar Japan, would be the start of new forms of translation, publication, and exchange. At the heart of the lectures is thus a search for the creation of a new sort of transnational collaboration, recasting the history of European colonialism and opening to a philosophy no longer simply Western, yet to come.

    The Japan Lectures thus contribute to the new scholarship in Asian and in translation studies which has long since moved away from earlier "Area Studies"; at the same time, it participates in the new scholarship about Foucault’s own work and itinerary, following the publication of an extraordinary wealth of materials left unfinished or unpublished by his untimely death. In these ways, The Japan Lectures help us to better see the implications of Foucault’s work for philosophy in the 21st century.



    Foucault in Asia: An Introduction




          1. Power and Knowledge

          2. Sexuality and Politics

          3. Disciplinary Society in Crisis

          4. The Analytic Philosophy of Power

          5. Sexuality and Power

          6. The Theater of Philosophy

          7. Methodology for a Knowledge of the World: How to Get Rid of Marxism

          8. Michel Foucault and Zen: A Stay in a Zen Temple


    Foucault in Japan: An Interview with Shiguéhiko Hasumi




    Michel Foucault was one of the greatest philosophers and intellectuals of the 20th century.

    John Rajchman, presenter and author of the introduction, is a philosopher and a professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. He has written extensively on Foucault, and more generally on postwar French philosophy.

    "A fascinating excursion into Foucault's thought in the late 1970s, in which Japan is an ‘enigma’ that works to clarify his own thoughts. In his presentations to Japanese audiences, the reader overhears Foucault explaining his thinking to himself in an engaging and often personal manner."

    Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History, Columbia University.

    " ‘The end of the era of Western philosophy.’ Foucault was often less guarded abroad and would drop gems in conversation with foreign scholars that he might not have shared in France. These brilliant Japan Lectures are a case in point. In a wide-ranging set of talks delivered in Japan in 1978 – ranging over topics from sexuality, to discipline, to power, knowledge, and philosophy– Foucault revealed himself and his ongoing thought processes. Expertly edited by John Rajchman and beautifully translated, these Japan Lectures offer a new window into his work."

    Bernard E. Harcourt is a chaired professor at Columbia University and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris and has edited a range of works by Foucault in French and English, including the Gallimard Pléaide edition of Surveiller et punir.

    "A fascinating rediscovery of Foucault in Asia. The Japan Lectures presents an exclusive collection of the French philosopher’s lectures, interviews, and conversations during his trips to postwar Japan, available for the first time in English translation. This book transforms our understanding of Foucault and his reflections on the limits of Western thought by posing a fundamental question: Will the philosophy of the future emerge outside Europe?"

    Lydia H. Liu, Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, author of The Freudian Robot.