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Parrhesia and Satyagraha Reading Group Seminar

Reading Group and Roundtable Discussion on Parrhesia and Satyagraha: Gandhi and the late Foucault

(Note: This event is co-organized with the South Asia Research Network)

Date/Time: 18 November 2010, 5:00 pm start.

Location: Royal Holloway, Egham Campus, Room FW101

In his enigmatic two last lecture cycles to the College de France, The Government of Self and Others (Pallgrave 2010) and The Courage of Truth (scheduled for spring 2011) Foucault attempted to define his philosophical legacy in terms of ‘speaking truth to power’ or ‘parrhesia’. Discussing both Platonic and Kynic models of this practice, Foucault sought to identify a position for the radical intellectual that focused on the establishment of a culture of truth telling in political subjectivity. Although he never mentioned him directly in this context – there is only one reference to hunger striking as a political tactics in colonial India in the lectures– there appears to be a considerable overlap or connection with the radical critique of power offered by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in his struggle for Indian nationalism, particularly his idea of satyagraha or ‘truth force’. This discussion workshop seeks to investigate conceptual connections between Gandhi and Foucault further and to chart out whether a joint reading of the two thinkers can help develop a new position for radical social and political critique.


Selections from Foucault, Michel, The Government of Self and Others (Palgrave 2010)

Selections from Gandhi, Mohatma, Essential Writings (OUP, 2008)



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