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Law Research Seminar Series - Foucault's first choice: of biopolitics, the canon, and doing history otherwise

Starts 29 November 2017 - 13:00
Finishes 29 November 2017 - 14:30
Venue RUS 101, Birkbeck, University Of London, 30 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DT
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Free entry; booking required
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Event description

Foucault's first choice: of biopolitics, the canon, and doing history otherwise

Speaker: Maria Drakopoulou, (University of Kent)

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This paper constitutes a feminist intervention in Foucault’s bio-political account. It does so by paying attention to certain conceptual gestures that are central to the framing of Foucault’s bio-political project and in particular to his diagnosis of an epistemic break that occurred when the notion of ‘life’ entered history; an event, which he sees as not only producing a distinct understanding of sovereignty, but also allowing the emergence of new modalities of the nexus of power knowledge and truth. I argue that a sexual economy already operating at the ‘foundational moment’ of Foucault’s bio-political account indelibly marked the manner of its formation.

More specifically, the paper foregrounds an analysis of Foucault’s bio-politics on the concept of sexual difference, and explores the productive role it plays in the formation of these accounts. However, in seeking to reveal the shadowy thread that connects sexual difference to Foucault’s bio-politics, I do not wish to suggest and critique a process of erosion, exclusion, or indifference, but rather to expose the critical possibilities of a problematic hitherto obscured by the power of the canonical status of the textual traditions employed.

Law Research Seminars are held on Wednesdays at lunchtime. The seminars are free and open to the public, and a light lunch is provided. For more information please contact Dr Başak Ertür

Please note that latecomers to the event are not guaranteed entry. Please be advised that photographs may be taken at the event for use on the Birkbeck website and in Birkbeck marketing materials. By attending this event, you consent to Birkbeck photographing and using your image for these purposes. By registering for this event you consent to your email address being added to the School of Law, Birkbeck mailing list. Your email address will not be shared with third-party organisations. If you would like to request your removal from our mailing list please contact

This event is part of the School of Law's 25th Anniversary celebrations. The School of Law, Birkbeck was founded in 1992 as a Department of Law with three members of academic staff. Over the last twenty-five years it has become a School comprising the Departments of Law and Criminology as well as the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, four research Centres, 40 members of staff and an overall student body of over 1,000. The School is proud of being a pioneer in establishing and developing a hub for the field of critical legal studies. While our national and international reputation has been forged through critical legal research, more recently we have gained recognition for critical criminological and activist research, socio-legal scholarship and policy-engaged empirical research. In recognition of this the last Research Excellence Framework exercise ranked us as being in the top 10 law schools in the UK and in the top 3 in London, while our research environment was judged conducive to producing research of the highest quality.

In this our 25th Anniversary year we will be holding a series of events reflecting on our history and successes as well as looking forward to the opportunities and challenges facing critical legal and criminological teaching and scholarship in the 21st century. Find out more about the 25th Anniversary celebrations here.

Contact name
Maria Drakopoulou, (University of Kent)
Further details

School/department website

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