New Space — Foucault and the Iranian Revolution

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Date/Time: 25/10/2006 12:00 am

Foucault and the Iranian Revolution
A Talk by Kevin B. Anderson
Wednesday, October 25 at 7:00 pm
Suggested Donation: $7 – $10
Beginning in 1978, Michel Foucault covered the mass unrest against the Shah in Iran as a journalist for Italian and French publications. He paid particular attention to the Islamic wing of the Iranian Revolution, which he rightly identified as a major new force in world politics. His search for an alternative to Western liberal democracy led him to favorably judge the first major victory of radical Islam as a new “political spirituality.” His support for this movement raises an important question about how Foucault, a major theorist of modern power, could have overlooked the repressive nature of Khomeini‚s movement. With _Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism_, Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson have written the definitive English account and analysis of this episode. They suggest some troubling connections between Foucault’s political judgment and his theoretical critique of modernity. They also discuss the sharp differences between his position on the Iranian Revolution (and radical Islamism) and those of the feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, the Marxist historian Maxime Rodinson, and the feminist writer Kate Millett. As Iran and its allies grow in prestige as a counter power to American hegemony, what relevance might the relation of this major Western critical theorist to the political Islamist movement have for today?
Kevin B. Anderson, Associate Professor of Political Science, Sociology, and Women‚s Studies at Purdue University, is author of _Lenin, Hegel and Western Marxism_. Anderson is co-editor of _Marx on Suicide_, The Rosa Luxemburg Reader_, _Erich Fromm and Critical Criminology_, and a forthcoming volume of Marx‚s writings on non-Western societies and gender.
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