Graduate Courses
   COMS 641
   COMS 650
   COMS 613
   COMS 640
   COMS 742
UnderGrad Courses
   COMS 353
   COMS 215
   Online COMS 234
   Online COMS 342
Bangkok U. Courses
   COMS 780
   Rhetorical Theory


>> COMS 650 Foucault, Discourse and social change Download PDF file

Course Goals
In what is being termed the "postmodern age" -- a social condition marked by the loss of a "center that holds" -- the concern for how change might occur takes on a new urgency. If we are but effects of the social practices that define us, to what extent might we possess any rhetorical agency? How might we effect change in a world that determines who and what we are? How have these social practices and not others come to define us? These questions are but a few that might be asked in interrogating the prospects for a rhetoric that effects change in the postmodern world. Several communication theorists have turned to the work of Michel Foucault in seeking potential answers and/or strategies for coping with the fragmentation and uncertainty that defines the contemporary "postmodern" condition. Given that interest, an examination of Foucault's relevance becomes an appropriate focus for a special seminar.

The overarching goal of this seminar is to develop a clearer sense of what it means to have rhetorical agency in a postmodern world. In moving toward that goal, we will interrogate a small sampling of Foucault's work that bears on the themes of discourse, power, and the subject. While not an exhaustive account of Foucault, the literature to be examined will provide a sufficient grounding in Foucault's project to allow for critical assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of his perspective. My hope is that each of you obtain a critical appreciation of Foucault = s perspective and that you develop sound arguments for the concepts you see as helpful, as well as critiques of those concepts you see as limitations or errors. To achieve that end, I do not plan to lecture in any formal sense, though I will perhaps talk more than I should! This should be seen as a collaborative effort, where we learn from each other, question each other and ourselves. We need to arrive at each class having carefully (rather than casually) read the assigned materials, raised our own questions about those materials (as in A what is going on here? @ and A why would he claim that? @ and “how is this thesis applicable to discourse or to social change? @ ). Class format will depend in part on the number of students. We will discuss the best way to accomplish our collective goals, and then move forward with whatever format, or combination of formats seems best.

Written Assignments
The following will assist in interrogating Foucault = s work. While variations on the tasks below may be entertained, the expectation is that, in each writing assignment, Foucault will be at the center of the interrogation, and relevant secondary works will be used as needed to facilitate that interrogation or to support your own interpretation/argument. In this context, the goal is to refine your ability to use theory to support a point of view. Establishing and advancing your voice thus is an essential component of your written work.

1. REFLECTION PAPERS B 5-6 pages as assigned that allow you to interrogate an essay, concept, thesis in a way that both advances your understanding of the topic, as well as expresses your interpretation of its significance in managing social change through discursive means.

2. RESEARCH PAPER B The expectation is that the research paper should be about 22-25 text pages (approx. 5500-6000 words), plus references/endnotes as appropriate. The aim is to write a conference paper that also serves as the initial draft of a paper you would submit for publication. Thus, it should be more than a synthesis of an idea or concept; it should have as its "reason for being" a specific argument/position or claim that you seek to advance. Further, it should be written in a manner that accents your own voice, using Foucault/others as support for the argument you advance. An oral report on the paper will be given during the last class period. While this can be a critical analysis of some rhetorical artifact, it must reflect your reading/integration of concepts/ideas encountered during this course. The paper will be due mid-week during final exam week . Time will be provided during the third and seventh weeks of the course to discuss ideas B and to force early decisions/work on the paper.

An Alternative Focus
As an alternative to a convention-ready paper, you may focus on a “state of the art” review essay in which the goal is to pair Foucault and a major subject/content area and examine the most current/recent literature extant on that issue. For example: Foucault and Gender/Feminism; Foucault and Cultural Studies, Foucault and Governmentality; Foucault and Space, Foucault and Rhetoric/Discourse. The goal would be to write a review essay mirroring those in QJS in terms of aiming toward publication. The resulting review would mirror the length requirements suggested above.

NOTE: For reflection papers B you will have an automatic maximum one day grace period (4pm next day) to turn these in; if beyond that date, they will not count.

For the major paper B you will have an automatic maximum one week grace period beyond the mid-Finals week deadline; grades beyond that point will be determined based on completed work. Only if you have a compelling reason due to circumstances beyond your control, should you request a PR; if approved, you will have a maximum of 5 weeks to finish the paper before a grade is turned in (calculated w/or w/o the final paper included).

Oral Assignments
1. Participation: I am asking that everyone assume responsibility for coming to class with a list of issues/questions that can be posed for response; you might also write a short paragraph that outlines an issue you wish to discuss.

2. Reports: When assigned, I would anticipate a summary of the principal themes/arguments, along with a critical assessment of what was done well/not well. It would help if, at minimum, a one-page handout outlining the issues/themes were made available. I am not anticipating a detailed review of every aspect of the assigned reading. These will be occasional throughout the course—more than one person may be assigned to read/respond.

1. Participation: 20% (based on overall rather than graded each time)

2. Reflection Papers: 4 0%

3. Research Paper: 40%

[check Little Professor] Foucault, Discipline and Punish ; Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge (AK) Prado, Starting with Foucaut. Readings are available online through the Library. The Prado text is assumed as a general resource B I = ve included specific chapters where they may be most useful to read as part of the overall discussion; we will refer to it on occasion B the assumption is that it is read as a background/interpretive resource.

Tentative Class Schedule

Date Topic/ Readings/Tasks
1. Jan 8 Initial Thoughts on Foucault–Overview of Course

2. Jan 15 An Orientation to Rhetoric and to Foucault
1) The Word Parrhesia
2) Critical Rhetoric
3) M. Foucault's Rhetorical Theory
4) M. Foucault and the Question of Rhetoric
5) Polemics, Politics, and Problematizations
Prado: C. 1

3. Jan 22 Contextualizing Foucault – Archaeology, Genealogy, Discourse
6) Report 1: Foucault and Critical Theory
7) [Essay] - The Archaeology of Knowledge
8) Nietzsche, Genealogy, History
-- Discourse on Language–in AK
9) Politics and the Study of Discourse
10) Foucault
Prado, C. 2, 3
Reflection Paper 1 Due
Paper Topic Discussion: Possible Topic Selection

4. Jan 29 Archaeology – Method or Means?
[Text] - Archaeology of Knowledge - Parts I-V
11) Report 2: The Statement: Foundation of Foucault's Historical Criticism
12) On Foucault's Concept of Discourse
Reflection Paper 2 Due

5. Feb 5 Discipline
[Text] - Discipline and Punish – Parts 1-2-3

6. Feb 12 Truth, Power, Knowledge
13) The Concern for Truth
14) Truth and Power
15) Clarifications on the Question of Power
16) The Discourse on Power
17) On Power
Reflection Paper 3 Due

7. Feb 19
18) Powers and Strategies
19) The Eye of Power
20) The Subject and Power
21) Body/Power
Prado, C. 4, 5, 6
22) Report 3: Bodies in Space: Foucault's Account of Disciplinary Power
Paper Topic Selection: Progress report

8. Feb 26 New Issues:
23) Governmentality
24) The Political Technology of Individuals
25) The Ethics of the Concern of the Self as a Practice of Freedom
Prado, C. 4
26) Report 4: Bodies of Knowledge/Knowledge of Bodies
Reflection paper 4 due

9. Mar 4 Heterotopia
27) Space, Knowledge and Power
28) Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias
29) Different Spaces
30) Questions on Geography
31) A New Image of Thought

10. Mar 11 Open —will catch up on reading/discussion and hear progress reports on research papers

[includes references for research utilization plus identifies source for readings at library by number
Reading # Source
12 Armstrong, T. J. Ed/Trans. Michel Foucault: Philosopher . NY: Routledge, 1972.
Bernauer, J. & D. Rasmussen Eds. The Final Foucault . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1988.
4 Biesecker, B. “Michel Foucault and the Question of Rhetoric.” Philosophy and Rhetoric . 25, 1992: 351-364.
11 Blair, C. “The Statement: Foundation of Foucault's Historical Criticism. ” Western Journal of Speech Communication . 51, 1987: 364-83.
Blair, C. “Symbolic Action and Discourse: The Convergent/Divergent Views of Kenneth Burke and Michel Foucault.” In Kenneth Burke and Contemporary European Thought (119-65). Ed. B. Brock. Tuscaloosa, AL: U of Alabama Press, 1995.
Blair, C. & M. Cooper. “The Humanist Turn in Foucault's Rhetoric of Inquiry.” Quarterly Journal of Speech , 73, 1987: 151-71.
Boyne, R. Foucault and Derrida: The Other Side of Reason. London: Hyman, 1990.
Bratich, J. Z., J. Packer, & C. McCarthy. Eds. Foucault, Cultural Studies, and Governmentality. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2003.
9 Burchell, G., C. Gordon, & P. Miller, Eds. The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality. Chicago: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1991.
Cooper, M. “Reconceptualizing Ideology According to the Relationship between Rhetoricand Power/Knowledge. In Rhetoric and Ideology: Compositoins and Criticisms of Power (30-41). Ed. C. Knuepper. Arlington, TX: RSA, 1989.
Davidson, A. I. (Ed.). Foucault and his Interlocutors. Chicago: U. Chicago Press, 1997.
Dean, M. Critical and Effective Histories: Foucault's Methods and Historical Sociology. NY:Routledge, 1994.
Falzon, C. Foucault and Social Dialogue: Beyond Fragmentation . NY: Routledge, 1998.
Foss, S. K. & A. Gill. “Michel Foucault's Theory of Rhetoric as Epistemic.” Western Journal of Speech Communication , 52, 1987: 384-401.
Foss, S., K. Foss, and R. Trapp. Eds. Contemporary Perspectives on Rhetoric. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 1991
14, 18, 19, 21 Foucault, M. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-77 . Ed. C.
Gordon.NY: Pantheon, 1980.
7, 13, 15 Foucault, M. Foucault Live: Interviews 1964-1984. Ed. S. Lotringer, NY: Semiotext(e), 1989.
17 Foucault, M. Politics, Philosophy, Culture . Ed. L. D. Kritzman, Trans. A. Sheridan et. al. NY: Routledge, 1988
16 Foucault, M. Remarks on Marx, Conversations with Duccio Trombadori . Trans. R. J. Goldstein & J. Cascaito. NY: Semiotext(e), 1991.
5, 25 Foucault, M. Ethics, Subjectivity and Truth/Essential Works of Foucault, Vol. 1. Ed. Rabinow, P. NY: The New Press, 1997.
10, 29 Foucault, M . Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology/Essential Works of Foucault, Vol. 2 . Ed. Faubion, J. D. NY: New Press, 1998.
20, 23, 24, 27 Foucault, M. Power/Essential Works of Foucault, Vol. 3 . Ed. Faubion, J. D. NY: New Press, 2000.
1 Foucault, M. Fearless Speech. Ed. Pearson, J. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotexte, 2001.
Goldzwig, G. “Multiculturalism, Rhetoric and the Twenty-first Century.” Southern Communication Journal , 63, 1998:
Gutting, G. Michel Foucault's Archaeology of Scientific Reason . Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1989.
Gutting, G. Ed. The Cambridge Companion to Foucault. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994.
Hekman, S. Ed. Feminist Interpretations of Michel Foucault. University Park, MD: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 1996.
3 Herzberg, B. “Foucault's Rhetorical Theory.” In Harkin, P. & J. Schilb. Eds. Contending with Words: Composition and Rhetoric in the Postmodern Age. NY: MLA, 1991.
Huspek, M. & G. P. Radford. Eds. Transgressing Discourses: Communication and the Voice of the Other. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1997.
22, 26 Jones, C. & R. Porter. Eds. Reassessing Foucault: Power, Medicine, and the Body. NY: Routledge, 1994.
28 Leach, N. Ed. Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory . NY: Routledge, 1997.
31 Marks, J. “A New Image of Thought.” New Formations. No. 25 (1995), 66-76.
2 McKerrow, R. E. “Critical Rhetoric.” In T. Sloane . Ed. Encyclopedia of Rhetoric (619-622). NY: Oxford University Press, 2001.
McKerrow, R. E. “Opening the Future: Postmodern Rhetoric in a Multi-Cultural World.” In A. Gonzalez and D. V. Tanno. Eds. Rhetoric in Intercultural Contexts (41-46). Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 2000.
McKerrow, R. E. “Space and Time in a Postmodern Polity.” Western Journal of Communication . 63, 1999:271-90.
McKerrow, R. E. “Corporeality and Cultural Rhetoric: A Site for Rhetoric's Future.” Southern Communication Journal, 63, 1998: 315-328.
McKinlay, A. & K. Starkey, Foucault, Management and Organization Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998.
McNey, L. Foucault and Feminism. Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press, 1992.
1 6 Moss, J. Ed. The Later Foucault. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998.
8 Rabinow, P. Ed. The Foucault Reader. NY: Pantheon, 1984.
Ramazano — lu, C. Ed. Up Against Foucault: Explorations of Some Tensions between Foucault and Feminism. NY: Routledge, 1993.
Visker, R. Foucault: Genealogy as Critique. Trans. C. Turner. NY: Verso, 1995.
32 Wendt, R. “Answers to the Gaze: A Genealogical Poaching of Resistances.” QJS , 82, 1996:251-7

OU OU school of Communication Studies Course Info Research Note Vitae Scrapbook Contact Me