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Foucault, Genealogy and the Parody of Critique

16 November 2017
12:30 - 13:30

HSRC Seminar Series

Date: 28 November 2017    
  12h30 – 13h30 
Venues: Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, PE and Sweetwaters

This seminar seeks to address two questions regarding the practices of critique developed by Michel Foucault, specifically his notion of genealogy. The first asks how far can a Foucaultian critique make possible the task of re-politicising concepts bound up with our modern neoliberalist moment?

And the second, regarding the positionality of the author of critique, asks whether our current reading of critique is adequate to resist speaking from ‘a location in the ‘colonial hierarchies’ produced by the coloniality of power’ (Grosfugal et al, 2015: 646)? Put differently, I ask whether Foucaultian genealogy can overstep the margins of structural critique to engage in ethical and affective strategy. In addressing these questions I return to the analytical exchange between Foucault’s two related techniques for conducting a historical critique: archaeology and genealogy. I argue for a re-reading of genealogy as a precursor for thinking through a new theory of critique as parody. It is a critique that is consciously stylistic, producing a non-prescriptive aesthetic offering which remains alert to the position from which it speaks as it is always relational to an ‘original

RSVP by 27 November 2017

Dr Rachel Adams, Chief Researcher, Research Impact and Assessment Unit, Human Sciences Research Council

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Contact Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail:

Cape Town:
HSRC, Merchant House 116-118 Buitengracht Street Cape Town, Cape Town. Contact: Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004 or or Carmen August at

Durban:  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or , or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail

Sweetwaters: Old Bus Depot, Mbubu Road, Sweetwaters Tel: 033-324 5000

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DST

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