A Foucaldian February

If on these wintery rainy days of February, the structures of power are getting you down, consider coming to the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library and having a Foucaldian February. The library has a great many books by Foucault, about Foucault, about his writings, and generally inspired by Foucault, which will hold you in good stead until the last day of February (The 29th this year!) and even through to the next leap year (and well beyond.) 

Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was a French historian and philosopher associated with the structuralist and post-structuralist movements. He was extremely influential in the humanities, it is perhaps impossible to get a degree in religion, philosophy, or history without meeting Foucault. 

If this is your first encounter with Foucault, we have many helpful books on the subject. The appropriately named Foucault for Beginners even includes illustrations! We have Foucault: A Very Short Introduction, a little over one hundred pages distilling Foucault’s life and works into an accessible quick read. There is also, The Cambridge Introduction to Foucault, which promises to provide, “ways in to understanding Foucault’s key concepts of subjectivity, discourse, and power and explains the problems of translation encountered in reading Foucault in English.” 

Then again, the reader might be wishful of starting with the man himself’s greatest hits. If this is the case, our reader could begin with Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975), The History of Sexuality Volumes 1-3, or perhaps a curated collection like The Essential Works of Michel Foucault, 1954-1984, and many more. 

If you find yourself stymied by Foucault’s work there are also many auxiliary books here to help you through. Should reading Discipline and Punish pose a challenge, consider checking out How to Read Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. Or perhaps Foucault: A Critical ReaderStill confused? Try Understanding Foucault.

In preparation for the Oscars, we can also recommend Foucault at the Movies to better understand Foucault’s influence on films and how they are influenced by Foucault. For further readings, Foucault’s Theatres looks at theatre and performance studies through Foucault’s critical lens.  

On our New Books Shelf, we also have many tomes regarding Foucault. These include Becoming Foucault: the Poitiers Years about Foucault’s early life and how it may have influenced his overall work, The Force of Truth: Critique, Genealogy, and Truth-Telling in Michel Foucault about Foucault’s history of truth, and The Archeology of Foucault about the period of Foucault’s life and work between 1961, when he defended his two doctoral thesis, and 1970, his inaugural lecture at the College de France.

If you are not overwhelmed by February 29th finish out the leap year by reading Beyond Foucault and The Final Foucault on February 29th. Truly, there is no end to the library’s Foucault Collection. So consider having a Foucauldian February and check out some of the many books at HPNL!



Bernauer, James William, and David M. Rasmussen, eds. The Final Foucault. Translated by J. D. Gauthier. 1st MIT Press ed. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1988.

Brunon-Ernst, Anne. Beyond Foucault : New Perspectives on Bentham’s Panopticon. Farnham ; Ashgate, 2012.

Downing, Lisa. The Cambridge Introduction to Michel Foucault. Cambridge, UK ; Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Elden, Stuart. The Archaeology of Foucault. Cambridge, UK ; Polity Press, 2023.

Fillingham, Lydia Alix., and Moshe. Susser. Foucault for Beginners. New York: Writers and Readers Pub., 1993.

Foucault, Michel. Foucault : A Critical Reader. Edited by David Couzens Hoy. Oxford, UK ; Basil Blackwell, 1986.

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. First Vintage books edition. New York: Vintage Books, 1979.

Foucault, Michel, and Robert Hurley. The History of Sexuality. Vintage books ed. New York: Vintage Books, 1990.

Foucault, Michel, Paul Rabinow, Robert Hurley, James D. Faubion. The Essential Works of Michel Foucault, 1954-1984. New York: New Press, 1997.

Gotman, Kelina, and Tony Fisher, eds. Foucault’s Theatres. Baltimore, Maryland: Project Muse, 2019.

Gutting, Gary. Foucault : A Very Short Introduction. Second edition. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Lorenzini, Daniele. The Force of Truth : Critique, Genealogy, and Truth-Telling in Michel Foucault. Chicago ; The University of Chicago Press, 2023.
Maniglier, Patrice, Dork Zabunyan, and Clare O\’Farrell. Foucault at the Movies. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.

Schwan, Anne., and Stephen. Shapiro. How to Read Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. London: Pluto Press, 2011.

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