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2022 Comparative Literature Conference

University of South Carolina

February 10th -13th, 2022

Truth in the Late Foucault

Keynote Speakers

Sandra Boehringer (Université de Strasbourg)

Alex Dressler (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Edward McGushin (Stonehill College)

Special Event: “Foucault: A Polemical Dialogue”

David Greven (University of South Carolina) and Marc Démont (Centre College)

Call for Papers

With the publication of the long-awaited volume 4 of the History of Sexuality, Confessions of the Flesh, the shape of the final Foucault is now brought into stark relief.  During the last five years of his life, Foucault was above all concerned with how the subject formed itself to be a teller of truth, both about and to itself and about and to others. This involved both the genealogy of sexuality but also political truths and truths relative to the technologies and aesthetics of our existence.

All of these elements, Foucault argues, have a complex history that can be studied.  None of this means that there is no such thing as truth, that truth does not refer to things that are real, or that truth is merely a ruse for power.  It does mean that truth is never simple, never self-evident, and always constructed within history and between people and their institutions.  As Foucault observes in Subjectivity and Truth, “We have to ask ourselves about the fact that there exists, beyond simply things, discourses.  We have to pose this problem: why is there, beyond the real, the true” (240).

This conference invites paper and panel proposals on all aspects of truth in the late Foucault. Possible topics might include:

Truth and confession

Sexuality and truth

What is truth in Foucault

Foucault and Hadot on Ancient Philosophy

Truth in Heidegger and Foucault

Nietzschean truth in the late Foucault

Foucault on Kant’s “What is Enlightenment”?

The aesthetics of truth

The technology of truth

Spiritual practices

Truth and power

Governing the self and others

Abstracts of not more than 250 words for papers and 500 words for panel abstracts should be sent to by November 1, 2021. For updated information, please visit the conference webpage:     

The conference directors anticipate the publication of selected papers in a book and/or special issue of a journal.